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Janet Napolitano Stresses White House Commitment to Immigration Reform, 2010 Timeline

by Mahwish Khan on 11/13/2009 at 7:00pm

Today, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano stressed the need to fix our nation’s badly broken immigration system. Her remarks, from an event this morning at the Center for American Progress, are now available here (English) and here (Spanish), with the video of her speech here.

Napolitano argued today for a comprehensive immigration reform plan that emphasizes both strong national security provisions and a pathway to earned citizenship for the undocumented:

Let me emphasize this: we will never have fully effective law enforcement or national security as long as so many millions remain in the shadows. Making sure these people become full taxpayers and pay their fair share will both benefit our economy and make it easier to enforce the laws against unscrupulous or exploitive employers. A tough and fair pathway to earned legal status will mandate that illegal immigrants meet a number of requirements – including registering, paying a fine, passing a criminal background check, fully paying all taxes and learning English. These are substantial requirements that will make sure this population gets right with the law. It will help fix our broken system.

The Secretary stressed the President’s commitment to immigration reform, trying to, according to the New York Times, “…dispel any notion that the administration … might postpone the most contentious piece of an immigration overhaul until after midterm elections next November.”

She also pointed out this morning that the majority of Americans want comprehensive immigration reform, mentioning that the debate is different from years past.

Erin Rosa quotes Secretary Napolitano in a post at Campus Progress today, saying:

“The businesses, community leaders, labor leaders, faith groups and law enforcement we’ve met with all have different stories, but they all reach the same conclusion: we need reform,” Napolitano said.

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