Sadly, we get a good forecast of the possible future of immigration reform in the Obama Administration from Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, who is likely to be President Obama's Homeland Security Secretary.
On November 24, 2008, the National Journal posted an excerpt from its 2007 interview with Janet Napolitano. Speaking with Lisa Caruso, Napolitano gave her views on border security, which included very precise comments on what most reasonable observers consider another major amnesty [Arizona's Immigration Test, 8 December 15, 2007].
First, border enforcement: "Here's my enforcement strategy. It's multitiered: It's manpower. It's technology. It's equipment. And in my budget I'm going to put the money not only to do it but sustain it over time. Unlike my predecessors' budgets, my budgets every year will call on the Department of Homeland Security and ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and local law enforcement at the border to be properly resourced so that we have continual operational control at the border."
Yes, well, that implementation remains to be proved. If not, that will be Sell Out #1.
Second, assessing labor force needs: "I'm going to direct the Secretary of Labor to tell us what our labor market needs are, and we're going to adjust the visas accordingly, and we're going to put in place a process to do that, protecting jobs for American workers but realizing that we will have a national labor shortage moving forward. I'm going to pay specific attention to certain areas such as H-1B visas [for skilled workers], where there is such a demonstrated need and there's more than enough work for everyone to go around."
Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas, Mr. Gates. Endless H-1B's are in the pipeline, along with all the other similar special visa charades. And if you really like socialism, we, the vaunted Federal Government that has been mismanaging our immigration policy for so long, will now, as the USA and the world is entering a serious economic downturn, assess labor needs from a Washington perspective. Governed by the K Street lobbyists, that assessment will no doubt conclude that more cheap labor is better, regardless of economic conditions or the continuing elimination of good jobs for American citizens.
How many fully qualified US engineers are now out of work? Even in the falsely hyped-up economy of 2006 there were over 300,000 unemployed US engineers. The IEEE-USA reports over 100,000 high tech professionals are out of work with over half being computer software engineers.
Clearly, this is already Sell Out #2, if the Governor gets her way!
Third, how does the incoming Homeland Secretary define amnesty? This is biggest, most dangerous Napolitano position to note. How does she regard the future for the 12 to 20 million illegal aliens now in the US??
As she told the National Journal, "The third thing is, we're going to deal with the 12 million in this country. We're not going to have a permanent underclass. They're going to have to pay a fine, get in line, and pay their taxes. And I don't call that amnesty."
Ah, this is prospective Sell Out #3!!!!! Governor, most Americans simply don't buy your glib definition of NO amnesty. Your attitude is apparently "to hell with the American Middle Class and the thousands of blue collar people who will be on the street as the US auto industry goes belly up."
As a Democrat who voted for Mr. Obama, I can only pray that your views expressed in this interview will not be acted upon when America's economic crisis unfolds.
We have heard mutterings from a number of Democrats about immigration—which make this Democrat's skin crawl.
My counsel to my party's incoming President and his entire Administration: you will surely need the good will of all Americans, including Republicans and Independents, to accomplish the many much more urgent priorities—such as energy solutions, infrastructure upgrades, a sharp war tamp down, and environmental initiatives.
Mr. Obama, with a trillion plus dollar budgetary deficit facing you, you will have little budgetary latitude for dealing with any of these pressing issues. To get immersed in a vicious, no-win battle over amnesty could well undermine anything else you wish to accomplish.
Let the market decide on manpower needs, not K Street! Unemployment will rise and many illegal aliens will decide to depart. Deportations will be largely unnecessary, except in criminal cases.
Don't go where Governor Napolitano suggests!
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.