Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano officially kicked off the administration’s amnesty/deferred action plan she originally announced in August. With President Obama’s approval, Napolitano will drop "some" pending deportation within the next few weeks at selected sites nationwide. [Janet Napolitano: Deportation Review Set to Begin in Weeks, by Josh Gerstein, Politico.com, October 19, 2011]
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Napolitano said:
"The pilot will start in a few weeks, two to three weeks. It will be very short and it's designed to find logistical issues that happen where you're trying to do a massive review of a lot of cases at the same time."
Napolitano’s comment indicates that DHS expects to release many more aliens over the next few months and this trial balloon will help them smooth out the administrative process. Napolitano’s announced goal is to "administratively close some of the low-priority cases."
As she has disingenuously done for the last two months, Napolitano defended her policy—a series of individual amnesties—as a practical approach to resolving the alien backlog. Another way to reduce the work load, apparently not considered, would be to deport them.
Citing "finite resources," Napolitano claims her effort allows DHS to refocus its efforts on "convicted criminals." Deportees who have so called "minor criminal records" will be assigned a low priority status.
The committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, called the plan "alarming." Grassley was particularly concerned with the administration’s earlier announcement that pardoned illegal aliens could be issued work permits.
Grassley, seeking clarification, asked Napolitano:
"People with no right to remain in the country will be allowed to work here…..is that correct?"
In her non-response, Napolitano suggested without elaborating that a policy has been in effect since 1986 where some aliens who were allowed to stay received work authorization.
A direct, honest answer to Grassley would have been:
"Yes, illegal aliens will be allowed to work. Despite a 9.1 percent national unemployment rate and 22 million Americans who are looking for full time jobs but can’t find them, we are issuing work permits to aliens."
During her testimony, Napolitano mentioned aliens’ "compelling cases" as if sustained unemployment for Americans isn’t compelling.
Senator Richard Durbin urged Napolitano to move quickly and more broadly. Durbin, one of the Senate’s biggest illegal alien boosters and the DREAM Act’s original author, told Napolitano:
"I hope that you’ll continue along this line on an expedited basis."