(Newsroom America) -- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Saturday that it is the responsibility of the federal government, not individual states, to set U.S. immigration policy.
In a speech at the Atlanta Press Club, Napolitano dodged a question about legislation in Georgia that matches Arizona's recent immigration reform law, instead saying Washington should write such laws.
"This is what (President Barack Obama) has said and I've been saying, state by state won't cut it. It's got to be a federal reform of immigration laws," she said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has said he will sign into law HB 87, a measure that creates a new set of requirements to ensure that workers are eligible to work in the U.S. It also gives police authority to look into the immigration status of some suspects, the paper said.
"We are taking action in the only way that we can," Brian Robinson, a spokesman for Deal, said.
Napolitano said states were acting on their own regarding immigration issues due to an "underlying frustration that this has not yet been dealt with at the national level, which is really where it should be dealt with so that there is national consistency where immigration is concerned."
Last week the Indiana Senate passed SB 590, a similar immigration reform measure, after paring down some of the provisions passed by the House. It wasn't clear if Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is contemplating a 2012 presidential bid, would sign it.
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