Even a Republican involved in drafting the bipartisan framework for immigration reform took umbrage with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s assertion today that the southern border is more secure than ever.
“Now, I often hear the argument that before reform can move forward, we must first secure our borders. But too often, the border-security-first refrain simply serves as an excuse for failing to address the underlying problems,” Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee today at a hearing on immigration.
“It also ignores the significant progress and efforts that we have undertaken over the past four years. Our borders have, in fact, never been stronger.”
Securing the border before providing a path to citizenship is the main sticking point between the Obama administration and the Senate agreement. President Obama’s plan has no such requirement.
Napolitano argued that the best way to slow border traffic “is through common sense immigration reform that strengthens employers accountability and that updates our legal immigration system.”
“Now, I’ve also heard the refrain that any attempt to provide legal status to the undocumented immigrants already in our country would simply reward law breaking and constitute amnesty,” she said. “Deporting 11 million people is not just impractical and cost prohibitive, it runs counter to our values. It would break apart families, hurt our economy and create labor shortages in critical industries.”
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