Immigration reform priorities of the administration

The Dallas Morning News carried an interview with Janet Napolitano, former governor of Arizona and now head of Homeland Security. Read what she had to say. Note how regularization of the status of 12 million illegal immigrants (about 7 million of them workers) she keeps in the background. I have a hard time imagining that immigration reform will happen in 2009 or 2010. I support the guest worker program concept, which she does not mention.
The article:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Thursday that she was optimistic that a bipartisan immigration-policy overhaul would, at some point, get through Congress.
‘This is not a new issue,’ she said in a meeting with The Dallas Morning News’ editorial board. ‘It’s just putting together a comprehensive package that covers the immigration issues from A to Z. … It’s a priority for both me and the president.’
Napolitano expressed hope that the effort, which has bogged down in Congress in years past, would not be as contentious as it was under former President George W. Bush.
She did not say when a bill would ultimately be considered since Congress and the White House are now consumed with health care legislation. So changes to immigration policy could be further down the road, though she has had meetings with Sen. Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat expected to take the lead on the issue.
‘There is a bipartisan recognition that the current law is outdated and needs to be brought up to date with our current needs,’ she said.
Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona, has dealt with the effects of illegal immigration for much of her career in public service.
She said an immigration bill should focus on the following:
*Developing or bolstering the penalties for employers who repeatedly hire illegal immigrants.
*Stamping out the new tactics human traffickers and money launderers are using to exploit the border.
*Developing programs that would allow seasonal workers to legally enter the country.
*Updating the visa process to allow students with capabilities the country needs to remain in the U.S.
Napolitano added that there needed to be a way to deal with illegal immigrants in the country and their desire for citizenship, including having them pay a fine, pay taxes, and not have criminal records.
‘Nobody is in favor of amnesty,’ she said.

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