Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a speech Friday that immigration reform is critical to our national security. "Let me emphasize this: We will never have fully effective law enforcement or national security as long as so many millions remain in the shadows," she said. Napolitano insisted the Obama administration has put border security first, with "fundamental" changes not only at the border but with enforcement of employers hiring illegal immigrants and that now is the time to work toward establishing legal status reforms.

Apparently, with unemployment at 10.2 percent, energy reform initiatives foundering, healthcare reform teetering on the brink, two wars and a monster deficit to deal with, the president really means it when he says he doesn't believe the agenda is too crowded.

Centrist and conservative Democrats are counting the days until healthcare reform is off the table, and they want an agenda focused solely on job creation and economic relief. They don't want votes on cap-and-trade and they don't want votes on immigration reform. The White House, eager to please liberal Democrats who are fuming over the war in Afghanistan, union issues, gay-rights issues and now abortion, is picking one hell of a fight by bringing immigration reform up before the midterms.

Do they really mean what they are saying?

WHAT WILL PALIN'S PUBLICITY TOUR DO FOR HER? FOR THE GOP? Ask A.B. returns Monday, Nov. 23. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.