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Homeland security chief: Illegal immigrants 'earned' right to be citizens

Jeh Johnson
Jeh Johnson
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the United States Conference of Mayors the 11 million or so illegal immigrants in the country have earned the right to be citizens, CNS News reported.

“An earned path to citizenship for those currently present in this country is a matter of, in my view, homeland security to encourage people to come out from the shadows,” he said.

“It is also, frankly, in my judgment, a matter of who we are as Americans,” he added, “to offer the opportunity to those who want to be citizens, who’ve earned the right to be citizens, who are present in this country--many of whom came here as children--to have the opportunity that we all have to try to become American citizens.”

Johnson also said enforcing immigration law is one of the main missions of his agency.

“The five core missions of the Department of Homeland Security are guarding against terrorism, securing our borders, enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, safeguarding cyberspace and critical infrastructure in partnership with the private sector, and supporting emergency preparedness and response efforts at every level,” he said before calling for "comprehensive, common sense, immigration reform."

Johnson told the 270 mayors present that providing a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally is a matter of homeland security in order to encourage them to "come out of the shadows," a favorite sound bite used by those who support amnesty.

One reader at CNS wondered if bank robbers have also earned the right to rob, or if prostitutes have earned the right to ply their trade.

CNS said Friday's speech was one of the first Johnson has made since becoming the new DHS chief in December.



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