Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano last Tuesday reaffirmed the Obama administration’s opposition to securing the border before granting amnesty to the roughly 12 million illegal aliens in the United States.  At an event hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Tuesday, Secretary Napolitano said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would not develop an official metric for measuring border security. (Christian Science Monitor, Mar. 26, 2013)

Napolitano also argued against including any “trigger” in amnesty legislation that delays the issuance of green cards to illegal aliens until certain border security measures are taken. Claiming that doing so would create too much uncertainty for illegal aliens, she said the inclusion of a “trigger” is “not the way to go.” (TPM, Mar. 26, 2013)  “There needs to be certainty in the bill so that people know when they can legalize and then when the pathway to citizenship, earned citizenship, would open up,” said Napolitano. (Id.)

Napolitano’s refusal to develop a border security metric is in direct contradiction to her October 2011 testimony before Congress and repeated promises administration officials have made to Members of Congress.  In 2011, Secretary Napolitano told the House Judiciary Committee “it was clear that [Homeland Security] must focus on more comprehensive and accurate measurements of the state of border security.” (Napolitano Testimony, Oct. 25, 2011) She promised members of the House Judiciary committee that Customs and Border Protection was in the process of creating a measure that would holistically “capture the ‘state’ or ‘condition’ of the border” and would reflect “the big picture.” (Id.) In fact, Napolitano said, “Defining success at the border is critical to how we move forward,” and promised the index would be ready in early 2012. (Id.)

Napolitano’s statements Tuesday not only contradict her testimony to Congress, they reaffirm that the Obama administration does not want any method of measuring border security to interfere with an amnesty program it hopes to ram through Congress this spring. Just last week, DHS officials admitted to The New York Times that the Department had not developed an official metric for measuring border security over the past three years “because the president did not want any hurdles placed on the pathway to eventual citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.” (The New York Times, Mar. 21, 2013)

Notably, the White House did nothing to distance itself from Napolitano’s statements. When asked at the White House Press briefing Tuesday about Napolitano’s refusal to develop an official metric of border security, White House Spokesman Jay Carney danced around the issue. “I think what [Napolitano] was saying — and the assessment we do agree with — is that there are a variety of metrics by which you can measure, and we do measure, progress on border security. And these are metrics that others use to measure border security, including Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and beyond the Senate, beyond the Congress. So we’re working with Congress on this, with the Senate on this. Progress has been made. Border security is one of the key principles that the President has put forward that has to be part of comprehensive immigration reform.”  (White House transcript, Mar. 26, 2013)(emphasis added)

In contrast, FAIR decried Napolitano’s remarks. “It is crystal clear that the Obama administration wants to eliminate any impediment to granting amnesty to illegal aliens,” said Dan Stein, president of the FAIR. “And led by Secretary Janet Napolitano, the Department of Homeland Security is systematically laying the ground work to remove any obstacles.” (FAIR press release, Mar. 26, 3013)

Stein further warned Members of Congress that they should think very carefully whether they are willing to support amnesty legislation under these conditions. “Why should Congress prioritize amnesty for illegal aliens over border security?” he asked. “That is not in the interest of the Americans they represent. And the notion that the Obama administration will secure the border and enforce immigration laws in the future is downright laughable if it refuses to even develop a way to measure border security.” (Id.)