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Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Jim Risch today voiced his disapproval of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's recent comments on the legalization of illegal immigrants being a "boon" to the economy.

Risch and 11 of his Senate colleagues wrote in a letter to Napolitano that, "legalizing those who have no legal right to be in the United States will not be a "boon" to American workers. Rather, it would only exacerbate the unfair competition American workers currently face as they struggle to find jobs."

"To suggest that our economy would be better off if those here illegally were given the same access to jobs as the millions of Americans now unemployed is ridiculous and insensitive. The White House and Congress should be working to get people back to work, not on policies that reward those who break the law," said Risch.

The comments in question were made during a recent address to the Center for American Progress when Napolitano said, "Requiring illegal immigrants to register to earn legal status...will strengthen our economy as these immigrants become full?paying taxpayers. As labor leaders have made clear to me, immigration reform will be a boon to American workers."

The Senators went on in the letter to encourage Napolitano to uphold her comments in the same speech where she said, "Americans need to know that their government is committed to enforcing the law and securing the border - and that it takes this responsibility seriously."

"Unfortunately, we have seen a dilution of enforcement initiatives in the last several months that make us question your commitment to this endeavor," the Senators noted-pointing to a rule rescinded this year which had clarified the obligation employers have to investigate when presented with evidence that employees may be using false or stolen Social Security numbers. The letter also referenced delays in implementing the E-Verify system for federal contractors.

Joining Risch on the letter were Senators Chuck Grassley, Jeff Sessions, David Vitter, Saxby Chambliss, Mike Crapo, Jim Bunning, Jim Inhofe, Orrin Hatch, Roger Wicker, John Thune and Johnny Isakson. A copy of the letter is attached.


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