Comprehensive immigration reform will increase border security, bolster the country's economy, and is great for rural America, Department of Homeland Security
Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a media call Tuesday. She said the bill will boost small businesses and agriculture, where it will put an end to worker shortages; will protect American workers; and is key to deterring illegal migration.
She said the current system is broken, saying "When you fix it, and do it the right way, it is an overall comprehensive agreement that moves us on a path well-suited for rural America in the 21st Century."
The bill will increase the number of agents and technology available at borders, making borders even safer, said Napolitano, who called border cities some of the safest in the country. It will also provide a better verification system, allowing officials to ascertain who has overstayed their visas, while creating a system to better monitor employers and employees. Increasing border security
is one of the main issues Republicans are pushing for with the
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who introduced Napolitano, said 700,000 of the 1.1 million agriculture workers are not properly documented. He said that without the bill, the U.S. stands to lose agriculture jobs to other countries. Also, he said, immigrants are twice as likely to start a small business, so passing the bill will fill jobs and create more taxpayers, which will help reduce the federal deficit. "It's important for this country to get this done this year, especially for rural American and the farming community," he said.
Only one question from a journalist was allowed on the conference call, which started 10 to 15 minutes late.