NOVEMBER 16, 2009
In a few months President Obama will push legislation to legalize the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who assures her boss’s jam-packed agenda won’t delay his campaign promise to the influential La Raza movement.
By early next year the country’s immigration system will be overhauled, guarantees Napolitano, who is the president’s point person on the matter. The former Arizona governor dispelled suggestions that the administration is too busy with health care, Middle Eastern wars and other pressing issues to postpone enacting immigration legislation.
Addressing a liberal policy group in Washington D.C., Napolitano said that legalizing illegal immigrants will enhance national security and protect American workers from unfair competition created by lower-paid, easily exploited illegal immigrants. “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,” Napolitano affirmed.
Under the plan Congress will provide temporary worker programs and a path to citizenship for an estimated 12 million people currently living in the U.S. illegally. In return, the illegal aliens must take a number of steps such as pay back taxes and fines, learn English and pass criminal background checks.
Unlike the legislation that Congress nixed in 2007, Napolitano says this one will pass because Obama has achieved border security and enforcement against employers hiring illegal immigrants. This may sound like a joke, but the Homeland Security chief is dead serious. “I know a major shift when I see one and what I have seen makes reform far more attainable this time around,” proclaimed a confident Napolitano.
Leaked tidbits of the highly touted overhaul bill reveal that the measure is guaranteed to be “compassionate,” according to the lawmaker (Illinois Democrat Luis Gutierrez) drafting the House version. Besides the citizenship path for millions of undocumented immigrants, it includes strict rules for humane treatment of illegal aliens in U.S. prisons and a plan to adjust (increase) foreign visa quotas for American employers.
Under the plan illegal immigrants will also get coveted discounted tuition at public colleges and universities nationwide and families will be allowed to remain together in the U.S. even when several members are in the country illegally. This opportunity to come out of the shadows will present the only practical and humane solution to the nation’s illegal immigration crisis, according to the legislators putting the final touches on the bill.
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