Napolitano: Don’t put border security requirement in immigration bill

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that lawmakers should not set a minimum standard of border security as a precondition of amnesty for illegal immigrants, though the White House said President Obama is committed to border security.

“I think that once people really look at the whole system and how it works, relying on one thing as a so-called ‘trigger’ is not the way to go,” Napolitano said at Christian Science Monitor breakfast, per Huffington Post. “There needs to be some kind of certainty in the bill so that people can know when they can legalize and then when the pathway to citizenship, earned citizenship, will open up.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney argued that most of the border security requirements proposed during the 2007 immigration debate have been met, though he said that Obama isn’t satisfied.

“Border security is one of the key principles that the president has put forward that has to be part of immigration reform,” Carney told reporters today. “Much of what has been put forward as necessary in that [2007] debate has been achieved,” he added, before noting that more needs to be done to secure the border.

Conn Carroll recalled last week that Napolitano told Congress that “Our borders have, in fact, never been stronger.” Byron York reported, though, that DHS informed Congress that a metric that was supposed to have measured border security is not ready and will never function as a metric for border security.

“I don’t believe that we intend, at least at this point, that the [Border Condition Index] BCI would be a tool for the measurement that you’re suggesting,” an official told lawmakers last week. “The BCI is part of a set of information that advises us on where we are and, most importantly, what the trends are … It is not our intent, at least not immediately, that it would be the measure you are talking about.”

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