In remarks a few days ago, Janet Napolitano offered a sneak peek at the message the administration will use next year as it pursues immigration reform. She went into great detail about enforcement, using that as evidence of commitment to the more controversial elements of reform.
Let me be clear: when I talk about “immigration reform,” I’m referring to what I call the “three-legged stool” that includes a commitment to serious and effective enforcement, improved legal flows for families and workers, and a firm but fair way to deal with those who are already here. That’s the way that this problem has to be solved, because we need all three aspects to build a successful system. This approach has at its heart the conviction that we must demand responsibility and accountability from everyone involved in the system: immigrants, employers and government. And that begins with fair, reliable enforcement.
We know that one-sided reform, as we saw in 1986, cannot succeed. During that reform effort, the enforcement part of the equation was promised, but it didn’t materialize. That helped lead to our current situation, and it undermined Americans’ confidence in their government’s approach to this issue. That mistake can’t happen again, and it won’t happen again.
That's a good message. She also made brief mention of one of the meetings I was invited to a short while ago, though I have no idea what sort of impact they had.
As part of the Administration’s outreach on this issue, my Department has held stakeholder meetings with more than 1,000 people and organizations across the country. The businesses, community leaders, labor leaders, faith groups and law enforcement we’ve met with all have different stories, but they all reach the same conclusion: we need reform. This reform will be part of the new foundation for growth, prosperity, and security that this Administration is working to create.
The President is committed to this issue because the need for immigration reform is so clear. This Administration does not shy away from taking on the big challenges of the 21st century, challenges that have been ignored too long and hurt our families and businesses.
I hope so.