Secretary Napolitano delivered a speech this morning at the Center for American Progress, outlining the Obama Administration’s strong support for reform of the nation’s immigration laws, and delivering a clear message on her commitment to the effort required to change the status quo. “We are determined to deal with long lingering problems that cloud our future,” the Secretary remarked. We’ve discussed this issue on the blog before, but as the Secretary said today, these are “critical challenges that have been ignored in Washington for too long.” We’re going to start talking about them more on the blog in the coming months.
Reform isn’t just a legislative benchmark for this administration; for the department, first and foremost, it is about keeping our country secure. By almost any account, millions of people are living – and many working – in this country illegally. They are families and individuals; migrant workers and seamstresses; neighbors and fellow church-goers – individuals that deserve a clear, fair and firm process. This is just one part of what the Secretary referred to today as the “three-legged stool” reform that we need.
“Let me be clear: when I talk about 'immigration reform,' I’m referring to what I call the 'three-legged stool' that includes a commitment to serious and effective enforcement, improved legal flows for families and workers, and a firm but fair way to deal with those who are already here. That’s the way that this problem has to be solved, because we need all three aspects to build a successful system. This approach has at its heart the conviction that we must demand responsibility and accountability from everyone involved in the system: immigrants, employers and government. And that begins with fair, reliable enforcement.”The Secretary noted that while DHS has already made many reforms over the last nine months within the current legal framework, real reform is necessary to address the larger challenges we face on this issue.
"Our system must be strong enough to prevent illegal entry and to get criminal aliens off our streets and out of the country. But it must also be smart enough to reward the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit that immigrants have always brought to America—traits that have built our nation."We’ll continue to update you, and encourage you to leave comments and let us know your thoughts. A full transcript of her remarks is posted on our site.