In a speech today at the Center for American Progress, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made it clear that immigration reform must happen in order for her department to effectively meet the challenges and needs of the 21st century. As she set out the specific parameters of reforms, Napolitano highlighted the damage done to the U.S. economy under current laws that makes it difficult for the best and the brightest who attend U.S. colleges and universities to stay here and work upon graduation.

Secretary Napolitano views immigration reform as having three components:

  • Serious and effective enforcement
  • Legal channels for the entry for families and workers
  • Providing for those who are already in the United States

Read the speech here, but I thought this quote was particularly striking:

Today, we have a system where America educates many of the brightest individuals from around the world and then tells them to leave the country where many of them would rather start their own ventures and strengthen their business right here in the United States. This hurts the economy for all of us and it has to change.