Outgoing Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano pleaded with Congress to pass amnesty legislation, or “comprehensive immigration reform,” in her farewell speech on Tuesday.
Napolitano defended her use of “prosecutorial discretion” to administratively grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants who qualify under “DREAM Act” provisions. Then she said, according to the Associated Press, that administrative amnesty is not a substitute for a legislative package that would grant the same protections and more to illegal immigrants.
“Congress had a chance to give the so-called dreamers a way to stay in our country through the DREAM Act but, unfortunately, that legislation failed to garner the 60 votes need for cloture, falling just five votes short despite strong bipartisan support,” Napolitano said, adding that her controversial policies were “no substitute for comprehensive immigration reform, which is the only way to face the long-standing problems with our immigration system.”
According to UPI, Napolitano also claimed the border is better off and more secure than it was when she first took her post. “Over the past four and a half years, we have invested historic resources to prevent illegal cross-border activity,” she said. “Our borders are now better staffed and better protected than at any time in our nation’s history, and illegal crossings have dropped to near-40-year-lows.”
She also blamed Congress for not taking up what she called an opportunity to “set commonsense immigration enforcement priorities, with a focus on criminals, national security and public safety threats.”
Napolitano’s call for amnesty to pass in her memory at DHS is not likely to help congressional Republicans in the House support it, as most of them vehemently disagree with her on most policy. Few, too, will want their conservative constituents to perceive them as supporting Napolitano’s policies.