Monday, November 16, 2009

Is Amnesty in the air?

I decided not to edit the important speech delivered by Secretary Napolitano on immigration reform but to ask you instead to listen to the whole 47 minute presentation. Listen carefully and decide for yourself about the message that she was sending out. It seems to this listener that she is preparing the public opinion for some form of an amnesty plan. If I am right do you think that the nativists will accept this without a raucous and if they scream loud enough would the administration be willing to hold the line or would it blink?

(I decided to correct the title upon the suggestion of Prof. Picoulas despite the fact that the original story carried the word Asylum instead of amnesty. Hat tip George)


  1. My mind (and notebook) is full of comments after watching this 48 minute speech. The introduction, speech and Q & A session brought up many interesting points about immigration policy: past, present and future. It spoke of enforcement, legislation, hopes, realities, business families and everything in between.

    Introduction gave me a feeling that Sec. Napolitano was going to be giving a very groundbreaking speech on immigration simply because of the work that was described as important to the host of the event, the Center for American Progress. They seem to advocate for a change in immigration policy that will include asylum and end the "exploitation" of illegal immigrants. Right off the bat it seemed unlikely that Napolitano would be giving a conservative speech calling for the construction of fences or the deportation of all illegal immigrants. She was also introduced as the former Governor of Arizona which is a state that deals with immigration issues on a daily basis. This was important in building her credibility in my mind since I did not know much about her or her direction for the DHS before watching this speech.

    One of the first things that the Secretary of Homeland Security said was that the illegal immigrant population in America is "12 million people living in the shadows." This choice of words shows the secretary, and in my opinion, the Obama administration’s commitment to solving the problem of illegal immigrants. She goes on to say that solving this problem involves the "stability of families and businesses" which seems to stress the importance of dealing with this matter as soon as possible since it permeates all aspects of American life. This is also seen in the Secretary's call for immigrants, employers and government all being held accountable for any change in American immigration policy.
    -- continued in next post--

  2. I next noted that Sec. Napolitano said that "we are a nation of immigrants and laws and these do not need to be contradictory." We cannot abide by laws if we have an illegal immigrant population therefore the most reasonable solution seems to be to grant asylum to this population. Napolitano does not however think that these illegal immigrants should simply sign a piece of paper and become a citizen. They need to pay back taxes, learn English and be prepared to take on the responsibilities that it takes to be American, not just the rights that you are granted. This approach seems to be desirable to liberal, moderate and maybe some conservative proponents of the asylum debate. She clearly does not want to be seen as weak to conservatives because the Sec. goes on to talk o her commitment to seizing illegal transports across the border of goods and deporting illegal immigrants who break the law.

    The only issue I have with Napolitano’s speech is that she continually speaks of "working together with congress" and enforcing the idea that Congress needs to be on board for a comprehensive alteration to immigration policy. This is realistic since there are many more aspects than just enforcement which her office oversees however it leads me to believe that the Obama administration will waver if the Congress proposes a conservative asylum plan. As the administration has done a few times thus far, they may tend to appease the middle ground instead of flowing through with a radical change in this drastically outdated system of dealing with immigrants.

    I agree that asylum should not just be granted to every illegal immigrant. The idealistic side of my mind has always said that they are here working hard and it took a lot to come to America so we should let them stay. However I do understand the problems that could cause weather to the American psyche or the actual political and economic structure, to a nation that is already going through many problems. Hopefully Congress will produce a plan that allows asylum to those who truly want it enough to meet some criteria such as paying back taxes or learning English to some degree because that is the first step in bringing these millions out of the shadows and into the American portrait.