6/21/10 - UPDATE I : White House denies Kyl’s claim, Kyl stands by his statement
Last Friday, Senator Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, told a group of Arizona voters a startling yet still unsurprising piece of information about President Barack Obama’s reason for not securing the border.(h/t Red State) Mr. Kyl explains at the meeting that he and Senator John McCain, Arizona Republican, put forth a border security plan, known as “Operation Streamline,” to former Arizona governor Janet Napolitano, who is now Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and Attorney General Eric Holder to no avail. According to Mr. Kyl, Mr. Obama said in a private meeting that securing the border could not come before passing comprehensive immigration reform, because Republicans would otherwise not support the legislation. Below is a transcript of Mr. Kyl’s thoughts on the matter: Long Version
“Ever since this administration started, we have been asking for, before Governor Napolitano and Eric Holder had their confirmation hearings, I met privately with both of them made the case for Operation Streamline as well as all the other things in the McCain-Kyl plan. They haven’t done it. Finally in exasperation, we passed a law that said they had to give us a report by last December 27 what it would take to implement Operation Streamline—still no report.
Why? I’ll tell you why. “I met with the president in the Oval Office, just the two of us. I kicked the rest of the people out.
Here’s what the president said, ‘The problem is, if we secure the border, then you all won’t have a reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.’ In other words, they’re holding it hostage. They don’t want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with comprehensive immigration reform. I explained that, ‘you and I, Mr. President, have an obligation to secure the border. That’s an obligation. It also has potentially positive benefits. You don’t have to have comprehensive reform to secure the border, but you have to secure the border to get comprehensive reform.’ I said, ‘you would be surprised maybe you don’t think there wouldn’t be no incentive for comprehensive reform, but I’m not so sure that’s true. In any event, it doesn’t matter. We’re supposed to secure the border.’
But that’s why it’s being done. They frankly don’t want to do it. They want to get something in return for doing their duty.”
This revelation goes along with a 2009 Immigration Customs Enforcement report saying enforcement of border security plunged:
Administrative arrests of illegal aliens dropped 68 percent (from 5,184 to 1,644).
Criminal arrests of illegal aliens dropped 60 percent (from 1,103 to 443). This directly contradicts statements made earlier this year by Napolitano claiming that two of ICE’s “major…enforcement priorities” were “the identification and removal of criminal aliens.”
Criminal indictments of illegal aliens dropped 58 percent (from 900 to 376).
Criminal convictions of illegal aliens dropped 63 percent (from 908 to 338).
Senate Democrats put forth an immigration reform bill in April. The legislation calls for high-tech ID cards for immigrant workers, a process to allow temporary workers, “tough sanctions” against American employers who hire illegal immigrants, and a process for those in the U.S. illegally to become American citizens. Also included would be a provision that would “require those here illegally to register with the government, pay taxes, learn English, pass criminal background checks and go to the back of the line to earn legal status,” Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said.
President Barack Obama announced in May he would dispatch 1,200 National Guard to the Arizona border, but according to Fox News, the National Guard will not be on the front lines in Arizona:
“The president said the Guard won’t be on the front lines but will be offering vital support roles.
‘What we find is, is that National Guards persons can help on intelligence, dealing with both drug and human trafficking along the borders. They can relieve border guards so that the border guards then can be in charge of law enforcement in those areas. So there are a lot of functions that they can carry out that helps leverage and increase the resources available in this area,’ he said.”
Furthermore, National Guard troops will reportedly be unarmed. Arizona’s immigration law SB 1070, scheduled to go into effect on July 29, is still widely supported among Americans, but the Obama administration made it clear last week that the Department of Justice will file a lawsuit against the state over the law. In the meantime, federal border immigration enforcement remains in political prison at the White House.