Last Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appeared as a witness before Congress’ House Judiciary Committee to defend her June 15 announcement of President Barack Obama’s deferred action DREAMers plan. “Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a strong and sensible manner,” she said. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case.”
Some committee members disapproved of parts of the deferred action program, including the part that would grant work authorization to undocumented immigrants. Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said the plan is a “magnet” for fraud and a “win for illegal immigrants but a loss for Americans.” Smith said that when undocumented immigrants are allowed to live and work in the United States, unemployed American workers have to compete with undocumented immigrants for scarce jobs. “With 23 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, this amnesty only makes their lives harder,” he said.
Secretary Napolitano said job creation in the United States can be stimulated in many different ways, but that we should not “balance the American economy on the backs of children who were brought here mostly through no volition of their own.”
Napolitano said that the attention has moved to removal of criminals because of budget limitations. “In the worksite category, we also have eliminated high-profile raids that did little to enhance public safety, and instead we are promoting compliance with worksite-related laws through criminal prosecutions of egregious employer violators, Form I-9 inspections, civil fines, and debarment, as well as education and compliance tools,” She said. “It’s a better tradeoff to go after the employers themselves through I-9s and other audits.