Under a bipartisan Senate framework, Democrats say, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano would have final say over whether the border is secure enough to put 11 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship.
If Napolitano does not provide the green light for putting illegal immigrants on a pathway to citizenship, the responsibility for judging whether the metrics for border security have been met will be given to her successor.The early debate over immigration reform has yielded two thorny questions: What metrics will be used to determine whether the goals for border security and other safeguards against illegal immigration have been met? Who will decide whether the metrics have been achieved?
Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the lead Democratic sponsor of the bipartisan immigration reform framework unveiled this past week, said Napolitano should decide.
“What we’ve proposed is that the DHS secretary, whomever it is, will have final say on [whether] whatever metrics we proposes are met,” Schumer said. “We think those metrics will be quite objective.”
Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the lead Republican sponsor of the framework, said the issue is under discussion within the Gang of Eight.
“We’re working on a lot of it,” he said.
But the idea of letting Napolitano, who plans to stay in the cabinet for President Obama’s second term, or a future secretary of Homeland Security make the final call on the border has sparked alarm among other Republicans.
“My constituents are not going to accept a Washington bureaucrat making a representation the border is secure when they know it’s not true. So that’s unacceptable,” said Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn, who represents Texas.
There are other tough issues that could derail immigration reform negotiations. These include the establishment of an entry-exit visa system to track whether persons who enter the country leave when they are supposed to. An estimated 40 percent of illegal immigrants have overstayed their visas.
Another is the question of how to handle the future flow of workers for so-called low-skill jobs in meat processing, hospitality and other service industries. Some lawmakers say disagreements over a guest worker program blew up a comprehensive reform bill in the Senate in 2007.
The proposal to make border security a condition for allowing illegal immigrants onto a pathway to citizenship has emerged as the biggest disagreement in the early debate. Obama pointedly did not call for it during a speech in Las Vegas, Tuesday.
- Judge Napolitano Says GOP Must Welcome Illegal Immigrants: It’s Their Natural Right to Be Able to Come to U.S. (foxnewsinsider.com)
- Sean Hannity on Immigration Reform: Democrats Don’t Want to Solve the Issue, They Want to Politicize It (foxnewsinsider.com)
- Charles Krauthammer: Getting immigration reform right (utsandiego.com)
- Schumer: We Won’t Let Border Security Block the Path to Citizenship (townhall.com)
- Immigration bill splits GOP on national-local line (cnsnews.com)
- Schumer firm on border security (politico.com)
- Judge Napolitano shocks Fox host: Immigration is ‘a natural right’ (rawstory.com)
- Schumer: ‘Border Security’ Will Not Be ‘Barrier’ To Citizenship (breitbart.com)
- Immigration bill splits GOP on national-local line (miamiherald.com)
- Harry Reid On Immigration: I’m Committed To Getting Bipartisan Plan ‘Over The Finish Line’ (huffingtonpost.com)