Obama’s senior adviser said today that a plan to grant citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants in the U.S. is in the works and could be made law as early as next year.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” with John King, the White House’s David Axelrod dodged a question asking him to commit to pushing immigration reform regardless of the political climate, but nonetheless confirmed earlier hints by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano that Democrats and Republicans are working behind the scenes to pass major new legislation.
“I think some good work is being done on both sides of the aisle to achieve that,” Axelrod said, “and Secretary Napolitano is getting that done.”
Axelrod added, “If we can get a group together to give it the momentum to pass in Congress, then we’re going to push forward with it.”
But while some attempt at addressing immigration law is widely anticipated, Axelrod went further, tipping the White House’s hand on the more contentious question surrounding immigration reform: if and how the estimated millions of illegal aliens in the U.S. today can become American citizens.
“We have to hold accountable and responsible the 12 million people who are here illegally,” Axelrod explained. “And they have to pay a fine and a penalty and have to meet certain requirements in order to get in the line to earn citizenship. And if they don’t want to do that, they need to leave.”
Axelrod also affirmed, “We want a system that holds everybody responsible and everyone accountable. We have to have better security at our borders and we are developing that, thanks to Secretary Napolitano. We have to have better enforcement on employers who abuse the system by hiring undocumented workers in order to undercut the labor market.”