It's Napolitano for Homeland Security Post


Mike Allen of Politico is reporting that Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano has been tapped to head the Department of Homeland Security.

A border governor with a "law and order" reputation, her choice as  Homeland Security Chief would seem to indicate that the problem of illegal immigration might get more attention in an Obama Administration.

Her record and rhetoric on our border problems is less than stellar:

Time wrote: “The one issue Republicans think they can use against the popular Napolitano is illegal immigration, because the huge number of border crossings have left many Arizonans feeling overwhelmed and powerless. Her critics claim she came to the problem late, but she seems to have navigated it deftly. … Napolitano opposed … several bills that targeted illegal immigrants. Instead, she looked to the systems and people that make illegal immigration possible: She ordered state contractors to ensure that their employees are legal [and] set up an undercover unit to catch forgers of identity documents … In mid-August she declared a state of emergency in Arizona to direct more funds to protecting border areas from illegal crossings.

She was less than decisive in going after businesses that hired illegals until the GOP seemed to be making traction on that issue. She supported the amnesty bill offered by McCain-Kennedy. She also claims to be tough on enforcement although some argue that Arizona is much too welcoming of illegals. It's true that she declared a state of emergency and called for assistance in border security from the national guard. But overall, the best you could say of her record on illegal immigration was that it was mixed.

How seriously will she be about other aspects of homeland security like port security, guarding our nuclear and chemical plants, and other areas where DHS needs to upgrade its performance? If she's not in favor of tough border enforcement, it is hard to see how she could be any more serious than the Bush administration about other areas where terrorists threaten our safety. After all, if you have little interest in stopping the terrorists at the border, it doesn't make sense that measures taken to protect our vulnerable spots will work very well.

I suppose, like most Obama appointments so far, we could do worse than Napolitano for DHS. But even among Democrats, we could have done better too.