3LeggedStool1Falsely Claims Progress in Fighting Illegal Immigration

In an address before the pro-amnesty Center for American Progress (CAP), Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano signaled the Obama administration’s support for legislation that would include amnesty for current illegal aliens and increases in the overall flow of immigration into the U.S. Napolitano also expressed support for improved immigration enforcement – despite actions taken by her department that have dramatically curtailed enforcement.

In her Nov. 13 speech, Napolitano described the administration’s vision of immigration reform as a “three-legged stool.” The legislation must include “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,” she said.

Acknowledging that previous attempts to enact amnesty for illegal aliens have been hampered by a lack of public confidence that the government would act in any meaningful way to prevent future illegal immigration, Napolitano sought to assure the public that this time things would be different. She asserted that “the security of the Southwest border has been transformed from where it was in 2007.” Furthermore, the transformation has not been limited to the border, she claimed. “[W]e’ve transformed worksite enforcement to truly address the demand side of illegal immigration.”

Based on these claims of improved enforcement, Napolitano urged Congress to move ahead with amnesty for illegal aliens and increases in the admission of both family- and employment-based immigration. “We need Congress to create the legal foundation for bringing the millions of illegal immigrants in this country out of the shadows,” said Napolitano. “We need carefully crafted programs that allow American businesses to hire needed foreign workers,” she continued. “Our immigration system is outdated where families are concerned, and we need to modernize and streamline the laws governing this process.”

While amnesty for illegal aliens and increases in government regulated immigration would not be justified even if the administration actually were enforcing immigration laws as they claim, the facts demonstrate that they are not. In fact, as FAIR has repeatedly pointed out, the Obama administration has systematically weakened all aspects of immigration enforcement, and there is no reason for the public to feel confident that promises of future enforcement would be kept.

America’s borders are anything but secure. By the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) own admission, a mere 894 miles of border or coastline are under “effective control,” out of the total 8,607 miles that the department is charged with protecting. Moreover, DHS has no plans to secure even one additional mile during the current fiscal year.

There has also been dramatic regression in virtually all areas of interior immigration enforcement under Napolitano’s leadership. According to DHS data released on Nov. 18, arrests, indictments and convictions of immigration law violators have all fallen by more than half during 2009. [See sidebar story.]

FAIR takes seriously the threat of a major legislative effort to enact amnesty and immigration increases in 2010. We have already begun to educate the American public about the false claims being made by the administration about its enforcement record and the devastating impact that amnesty and increased immigration would have on the American people. We urge all members and supporters to go to FAIR’s website, http://www.fairus.org, to sign up for legislative alerts so that you can be prepared to oppose any effort to enact amnesty in 2010.