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DHS Secretary Reiterates: Comprehensive Immigration Reform to Move Forward in 2010

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Secretary Napolitano Pledges to Work with Congress on Legislation Early Next Year

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano reiterated her support for comprehensive immigration reform and the Obama administration’s plans to move forward with legislation in early 2010.

Secretary Napolitano stated her intention to work with Congress “to develop a path forward early next year to reform the immigration system as a whole.”  She also reiterated the Administration’s commitment to an approach “that includes serious, effective and sustained enforcement, that includes improved legal flows for families and workers, and a firm way to deal with those already illegally in the country.”  Today’s remarks echo those of her recent speech at the Center for American Progress, where she laid out her vision for immigration reform as being like a “three-legged stool” that “includes 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.”

During today’s hearing, U.S. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) also expressed the need for action on comprehensive immigration reform.  Senator Leahy stated that “sensible enforcement of current law will not by itself solve our nation’s immigration problems…We need reform, comprehensive reform.  The immigration system is broken.”

The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“In her testimony today and in recent speeches, Secretary Napolitano makes clear her intentions to put the Administration’s muscle behind the effort to enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation in early 2010.

As [former INS Commissioner] Jim Ziglar and [former Assistant Secretary for Border and Transportation Security Policy at DHS] Stewart Verdery made clear yesterday, relying on enforcement measures alone amounts to putting a band-aid on a clean fracture.  In order to significantly reduce illegal immigration, restore respect for the rule of law, and replace the chaos and exploitation of the status quo with the control and regulation of an orderly system, we need comprehensive immigration reform – the only practical and lasting answer.

We are encouraged by the Administration’s continued commitment to advancing immigration reform next year, as well as Senator Leahy’s remarks and the work of other Congressional champions such as Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) who are gearing up for early action in 2010.  It’s long been time for politicians to set aside partisanship and do what’s right for the country by enacting a lasting fix to this important problem.”

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.