Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) are meeting with Janet Napolitano tomorrow (2/26/09) to discuss Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR). They are bringing reports and statistics of past Immigration abuses and are asking Napolitano to provide her planned Immigration agenda.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) recently completed a Nation-wide Unity Tour listening to testimony from families impacted by our nation’s broken immigration system.
the hill.com reports:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will have her first private meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) on Thursday, a number of sources have confirmed.The meeting will be in the Capitol, and will be Napolitano’s second straight day on Capitol Hill. On Wednesday, the secretary testified before the House Homeland Security Committee for the first time as the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Immigration reform (CIR) is the top priority for the CHC, and members of the Hispanic Caucus have a number of questions about the former Arizona governor’s commitment to enacting quick changes to strict immigration enforcement policies put in place under the Bush administration, which the CHC has told President Obama they want reformed. Senior leaders in the CHC were said to be particularly curious about a number of review and assessment directives that Napolitano has called for already. In testimony that she submitted to the Homeland Security Committee in advance of her Wednesday appearance, Napolitano said she has already requested “directives to assess the status of the Department’s worksite enforcement programs, fugitive alien operations, immigration detention facilities, removal programs and the 287(g) program.”
Since the Bush administration undertook a much tougher immigration enforcement strategy — culminating in a number of high-profile workplace raids that netted hundreds of undocumented workers, many of whom were deported almost immediately — the CHC has pushed back with a multifaceted attempt to curtail the raids, and is currently on a nationwide tour designed to highlight the impact such raids are having on Latino families and communities. Sources said members of the CHC are looking for specific answers from Napolitano about whether she plans to roll back such Bush initiatives or is leaning toward keeping them in place. Hispanic members of Congress also want to talk to Napolitano about Obama’s choice of her deputy secretary to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm of DHS, John Morton. Morton, according to a DHS press release, has “lengthy experience in immigration enforcement and criminal prosecution … [Morton has been] responsible for the prosecution of criminal cases and the development of DOJ [Department of Justice] policy in the areas of immigration crime.”
The CHC has taken issue with what it perceives as the over-criminalization of illegal immigration. Along these lines, they plan to question Napolitano about a February report from the Migration Policy Institute, which found that the DHS's “federal fugitive operations program, established to locate, apprehend and remove fugitive aliens who pose a threat to the community, has instead focused chiefly on arresting unauthorized immigrants without criminal convictions.”