Monday, December 01, 2008

Obama nominee Napolitano on immigration

President-elect Barack Obama has nominated Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano to be Secretary of Homeland Security in his administration. Early this year, Napolitano was interviewed on the immigration priorities she would recommend to a new president.

Reflecting her experience as governor of a border state, her first recommendation was that a new president develop an eight-year program for the border and immigration reform, as well as an eight year budget to fund the program.

Napolitano said she would recommend beefing up border security with technology and manpower, cracking down on employers who hire illegal workers, and increasing the availability of work visas. She also included offering amnesty to the country's illegal immigrants.

Earned legalization for illegal immigrants must be on the next president's agenda, Napolitano stressed. And she wouldn’t require waiting for new border security measures to be in place before offering amnesty. “I don't know that you should do those sequentially, “ she said.

In exchange for amnesty, Napolitano would simply require illegal immigrants to pay a fine, learn English, and "get in line.” She would not require illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before earning amnesty.

She also opposes asking border governors to certify the integrity of the border, a proposal of Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona. Relying on governors to certify that the border is secure amounts to shirking responsibility, said Napolitano.

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