Napolitano Sketches Border Fix
- Subject: Napolitano Sketches Border Fix
Napolitano Sketches Border Fix
Homeland Security Pick, in Jan. Interview, Sounds Off on Border
By TEDDY DAVIS
Dec. 1, 2008
Almost a year before Barack Obama nominated her to be secretary of
Homeland Security, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano spoke with ABC News
about how the next president should tackle immigration reform.
"I'm a governor, so I always think in terms of budgets," said
Napolitano. "Whoever the next president is should give his two-term plan
for the border and for immigration reform. Give us an eight-year budget.
Plan it out. Show us where it's going. And make sure that every year,
those numbers are included. Build some of that into your own
accountability. Tell your office of Management and Budget, 'I don't want
to sign off on a budget that doesn't include these things.' That's one
way you might start building in some confidence."
=0 AIn the January 2008 interview, Napolitano laid out a four-part plan:
beefing up border security with technology and manpower, cracking down
on employers who hire illegal workers, increasing the availability of
work visas, and offering the country's 12 million illegal immigrants a
pathway to citizenship.
The Arizona governor argued that stopping illegal immigration would
require both border enforcement and going after employers who rely on
"What you need is a sustained plan over time that marries what you're
doing at the border . . . with interior enforcement, which means going
after employers who consistently and intentionally disobey the
immigration law," said Napolitano.
While Napolitano would focus on interior enforcement of employer
sanctions, she would also urge Congress to increase the number of work
visas because, in her view, the current number is "obviously inadequate
to meet our current and future labor needs."
Earned legalization for illegal immigrants must be on the next
president's agenda, added Napolitano. In contrast with some
congressional Republicans who want to delay earned legalization until
new border security measures are enacted, Napolitano said, "I don't know
that you should do those sequentially."
In exchange for a pathway to citizenship, Napolitano would require
illegal immigrants to pay a fine, learn English, and "get in line."
She would not, however, require ille gal immigrants to "touchback" in
their country of origin before getting a pathway to earned legalization.
"The notion that we're going to make them go on some kind of ceremonial
trip just to make us feel good, I think, is not really an immigration
plan," said Napolitano.
"Let's think it through," she continued. "Let's say you are an illegal.
You are in the United States. You are from Guatemala. OK, you're
supposed to voluntarily return to Guatemala, I guess, as opposed to
being deported. All right. Well, then, what are you supposed to do? Show
up in front of an office in Guatemala and re-apply for entry into this
country, which means there's got to be some government bureaucrat down
there on behalf of the U.S. that has to process all of that there.
"And let's say you were the breadwinner for your family," she continued.
"Who's taking care of your family up here? Or are they going to go on
the welfare rolls up here -- because your kids may very well be U.S.
In addition to opposing Republican calls for a "touchback" provision,
Napolitano also opposes asking border governors to certify the integrity
of the border, a proposal pushed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during
his presidential campaign.
"The certification issue sounds good," said Napolitano. "But it is a
snapshot, not a sustained presence, and a snapshot could vary greatly
within any given state within any given year."
Relying on governors to certify that the border is secure amounts to
shirking responsibility, said Napolitano.
"If you make certification the only criteria for whether you then move
into overall immigration reform, what I would be leery of is putting up
a process by which you never have to take responsibility for overall
immigration reform," she said.
ABC News' Arnab Datta and Ferdous Al-Faruque contributed to this report.
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