Promises of Border Enforcement Breached Before Bill is Even Introduced
(Washington, D.C.) Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano this morning reaffirmed the Obama administration's opposition to securing the border before granting amnesty to the roughly 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. At an event hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Tuesday, Secretary Napolitano said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would not develop an official metric for measuring border security. The announcement seriously compromises current negotiations over immigration legislation predicated on the belief that enhanced border security is a pre-condition to handing out green cards to those who came to the U.S. illegally, says the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
Napolitano also argued against including any "trigger" in amnesty legislation that delays the issuance of green cards to illegal aliens until certain border security measures are taken. Claiming that doing so would create too much uncertainty for illegal aliens, she said the inclusion of a "trigger" is "not the way to go." "There needs to be certainty in the bill so that people know when they can legalize and then when the pathway to citizenship, earned citizenship, would open up," said Napolitano.
Napolitano's refusal to develop a border security metric is in direct contradiction to her October 2011 testimony before Congress and repeated promises administration officials have made to Members of Congress. In 2011, Secretary Napolitano told the House Judiciary Committee "it was clear that [Homeland Security] must focus on more comprehensive and accurate measurements of the state of border security." She promised members of the House Judiciary committee that Customs and Border Protection was in the process of creating a measure that would holistically "capture the ‘state' or ‘condition' of the border" and would reflect "the big picture." In fact, Napolitano said, "Defining success at the border is critical to how we move forward," and promised the index would be ready in early 2012.
Napolitano's statements this morning represent a complete reversal of her position only 18 months ago and reaffirm that the Obama administration simply will not place border security ahead of amnesty. Just last week, The New York Times reported that an administration official acknowledged DHS had not developed an official metric for measuring border security over the past three years "because the president did not want any hurdles placed on the pathway to eventual citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally."
Napolitano's opposition to including a border security "trigger" in any amnesty legislation only reiterates this position and throws a wrench into the Gang of Eight negotiations. The framework for the Gang of Eight released only weeks ago included a "trigger" requiring certain border security measures be in place before the government may issue green cards to newly legalized aliens.
"It is crystal clear that the Obama administration wants to eliminate any impediment to granting amnesty to illegal aliens," said Dan Stein, president of the FAIR. "And led by Secretary Janet Napolitano, the Department of Homeland Security is systematically laying the ground work to remove any obstacles.
"Members of Congress should think very carefully whether they are willing to support an illegal alien amnesty under these conditions. Why should Congress prioritize amnesty for illegal aliens over border security? That is not in the interest of the Americans they represent. And the notion that the Obama administration will secure the border and enforce immigration laws in the future is downright laughable if it refuses to even develop a way to measure border security.
"An overhaul of our immigration policies must be accomplished incrementally beginning with measurable steps not just to secure our borders, but also ensure effective interior and workplace enforcement," continued Stein. "It is time for Republicans on Capitol Hill to acknowledge that the Obama administration and many of their congressional colleagues are not serious about anything other than legalizing illegal aliens and stop providing them with the political cover they need to betray the interests of American workers and taxpayers," Stein concluded.
Kristen Williamson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-328-7004