Ira Mehlman
The setting was not quite the flight deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln with a “Mission Accomplished” banner as the backdrop, but it was the next best thing. Speaking at the Center for American Progress (CAP) on Nov. 13, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declared victory over illegal immigration and announced that the Obama administration is ready to move forward with a mass amnesty for the millions of illegal aliens already living in the United States.

Arguing the Obama administration’s case for amnesty, Napolitano laid out what she described as the “three-legged stool” for immigration reform. As the administration views it, immigration reform must include “a commitment to serious and effective enforcement, improved legal flows for families and workers, and a firm but fair way to deal with those who are already here.”

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Acknowledging that a lack of confidence in the government’s ability and commitment to effectively enforce the immigration laws it passes proved to be the Waterloo of previous efforts to gain amnesty for illegal aliens, Napolitano was quick to reassure the American public that those concerns could be put to rest.

“For starters, the security of the Southwest border has been transformed from where it was in 2007,” stated the secretary. Not only is the border locked up tight, she continued, but the situation is well in-hand in the interior of the country as well. “We’ve also shown that the government is serious and strategic in its approach to enforcement by making changes in how we enforce the law in the interior of the country and at worksites…Furthermore, we’ve transformed worksite enforcement to truly address the demand side of illegal immigration.”

If Rep. Joe Wilson had been in attendance to hear Secretary Napolitano’s CAP speech he might well have had a few choice comments to offer. But since he wasn’t, we will have to rely on the Department of Homeland Security’s own data to assess the veracity of Napolitano’s claims.

According to DHS’s own reports, very little of our nation’s borders (Southwestern or otherwise) are secure, and gaining control is not even a goal of the department. DHS claims to have “effective control” over just 894 miles of border. That’s 894 out of 8,607 miles they are charged with protecting. As for the other 7,713 miles? DHS’s stated border security goal for FY 2010 is the same 894 miles.


Ira Mehlman

Ira Mehlman is the Media Director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.