WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano Tuesday questioned the notion of creating a border security "trigger" as part of comprehensive immigration reform, arguing it would not be appropriate to link addressing the status of the 11 million undocumented workers in the country to any one metric.
"Once people really look at the whole system and how it works, looking at one thing as a trigger is not the way to go," Napolitano told reporters during a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor
"The key thing is to have border sec in the bill, to open up legal migration more than it is, deal with employers and then to have certainty for the 11 million that are here … to come out of the shadows," the former Arizona governor said.
The idea of a border security trigger has become increasingly popular among conservatives who back a comprehensive approach to immigration reform, particularly Sen. Rand Paul, who has called for a system under which Congress would have to verify that the border is secure before undocumented workers could begin the process of legalization and, eventually, citizenship.
But Napolitano said that finding a single metric for determining whether the border is secure is not possible and that a more complex view of the situation is needed.
"We're confident that the border is as secure as it's ever been," Napolitano said, arguing that "there's not just one number. Border security encompasses a lot of things."
John Stanton is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New Orleans. In 2014, Stanton was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.
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