Lamar Smith is pushing for swift passage of his E-Verify mandate bill. While the bill would likely face a tough battle in the Senate, many wonder whether the President would sign or veto it. The White House has been a strong advocate for E-Verify, but it also knows that enforcement-only bills are hugely unpopular in immigrant communities.

So recent comments by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano are telling:

Although the Obama administration favors the expanded use of the electronic E-Verify system to confirm the legal status of prospective employees, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said today that any expansion of E-Verify must be part of a larger immigration reform plan.

'If you just do E-Verify, you're not doing enough,' she told a breakfast meeting with reporters.

Napolitano said that E-Verify expansion should be part of a package that also includes the DREAM Act, which allows some children of Napolitano said that E-Verify expansion should be part of a package that also includes the DREAM  Act, which allows illegal immigrants a pathway to U.S. citizenship, along with expanded H1B visas for high-tech workers and H2A visas.

Of course, this isn't really comprehensive immigration reform, but that's okay in my opinion. Interestingly, Napolitano is quoted saying E-Verify "can and should be part of (comprehensive) immigration reform." Note that the Houston Chronicle reporter has put "comprehensive" in parenthesis assuming that Napolitano meant comprehensive reform. But I think she probably meant exactly what she said - just reform. Efforts to pass a comprehensive immigration bill have gone nowhere now for seven years and the politics have only gooten worse. But piecemeal immigration reform is an easier lift and it could be that we get some important reforms like the DREAM Act, perhaps AgJobs and skilled worker reforms in exchange for an E-Verify mandate. I'd take that deal if it were on the table, though I know many in the pro-immigrant community will reject anything less than perfect. But we all know that the perfect solution is the enemy of the good one.