Napolitano Misstates U.S. Immigration Law During CNN Interview
By Julie Kirchner, Executive Director of FAIR
Immigration reformers have been watching closely as the Obama Administration has been quietly, but systematically, dismantling all effective immigration enforcement programs. E-Verify, 287(g) and worksite enforcement are only a few of the most prominent programs the Obama Administration has undermined. And while U.S. immigration laws go unenforced, President Obama has committed to pushing for amnesty legislation this year, in essence stating that enforcing our immigration laws is too burdensome and not worth the resources.
The Obama Administration's decision to abandon the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws was only highlighted Sunday morning when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano bungled the fundamentals of U.S. immigration law during an interview on CNN's State of the Union. Napolitano appeared on the show, hosted by John King, to discuss the latest intelligence report, border security, immigration reform, and a host of related issues. During the interview, the discussion turned to Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona. King asked Napolitano to respond to Arpaio's statement that he hoped the federal government would prosecute all aliens who cross the border illegally. Napolitano responded:
"Well, you know, Sheriff Joe, he is being very political in that statement, because he knows that there aren't enough law enforcement officers, courtrooms or jail cells in the world to do what he is saying.
What we have to do is target the real evil-doers in this business, the employers who consistently hire illegal labor, the human traffickers who are exploiting human misery.
And yes, when we find illegal workers, yes, appropriate action, some of which is criminal, most of that is civil, because crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil. But anyway, going after those as well." (CNN Transcript: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0904/19/sotu.01.html)
ENTRY WITHOUT INSPECTION IS A CRIME: In fact, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1325, crossing the border illegally is a crime--a misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony for the second and subsequent offenses. But of course, ignoring or mischaracterizing the law is a very convenient way for those in power to avoid the laws they find most inconvenient. Sadly, statements such as these are also a signal that Americans will have to wait a long time before their government articulates any credible immigration enforcement policy.