Opinion

Facts matter in immigration debate

Cecilia Muñoz is White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

As too often happens in the debate over immigration, anger and heated rhetoric from all sides dominate while the facts tend to get lost along the way. So it's important to set the record straight. Fixing the broken immigration system so that it meets America's economic and security needs has been and continues to be a priority for President Obama. The president has laid out a clear, detailed blueprint for reform, but the only way to do what's necessary is for Congress to act and pass bipartisan legislation the president can sign into law. Failing to act simply perpetuates a broken system. Unfortunately, as the president has said, he needs a dance partner across the aisle to move legislation forward, and so far the floor is empty.

While the president continues to work every day to fix what's broken about our immigration system, he has also been clear that the executive branch has a responsibility to enforce the law, and to do it in a way which is both vigorous and smart. So while legislation is pending, this Administration has focused on improving our immigration system by making enforcement smarter and more effective. The fact is, Congressional funding for immigration enforcement and deportations has been on the rise for the past decade. For the first time ever, those resources are being used in a strategic and targeted way to ensure we're maximizing public safety.

Under the president's direction, the Department of Homeland Security for the first time ever has prioritized the removal of people who have been convicted of crimes in the United States. The Secure Communities Program, which relies on a federal information sharing program that utilizes FBI fingerprint checks conducted by law enforcement officials as they fight crime in their communities, is central to this strategy.

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