Janet Napolitano on Immigration

Democratic AZ Governor; Designee for Secretary of Homeland Security


Deferring DREAMer deportations about priorities, not policy

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, affected the lives of thousands of young immigrants collectively known as the "Dreamers."

By 2012, there were an estimated 1.4 million Dreamers living in the country. Named after the 2001 DREAM Act legislation , which would have given them legal status and a path to citizenship, Dreamers were brought into the country as children. They were kids who in all but the letter of the law were Americans. All lived in fear of deportation.

The Congress appropriates resources specifically to DHS removal and detention operations to remove fewer than 2% out of the estimated 11 million undocumented individuals. These numbers imply that choices were being made about who should be removed.

And so early on at my time at DHS we instructed agents in the field to focus their efforts on the "bad actors"--individuals who presented risks to national security, or who had committed felonies, and so on. Dreamers and others no longer fit the priorities.

Source: Brennan Center for Justice essays, p. 73-4 (Obama Cabinet) , Apr 28, 2015

Cheered Mexican president denouncing Arizona immigration law

When Arizona passed its law authorizing the police during "lawful contact" to determine the status of an individual if there were a "reasonable suspicion" he was here illegally, Mexican President Calderon charged Arizona with opening the door "to intolerance, hate, discrimination and abuse in law enforcement."

Within days, Calderon was in the Rose Garden with Obama, attacking the Arizona law. When the Mexican president went before the Congress to charge that the law--which specifically prohibits racial profiling--"introduces racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement," the Democratic side of the aisle that included Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Janet Napolitano rose to cheer Calderon's defamation of the state of Arizona.

Source: Suicide of a Superpower, by Pat Buchanan, p.141 , Oct 18, 2011

Keep up intense pressure on border criminals

There is no more fundamental function of government than to protect the public. In the past six years, crime in Arizona has gone down in nearly every category. We have built the nation's first state anti-terrorism center and prepared ourselves to be read for any disaster. We secured increased federal resources at the border, and state task forces have arrested hundreds of human smugglers. We have used innovative methods to attack the tools of the smuggling trade, such as money laundering and fraudulent identification. We have made Arizona the most innovative and active state in the nation in addressing--head-on--the consequences of our nation's broken borders.

We have to keep up this intense pressure on the border criminals who use violence and fraud to smuggle people and drugs into our country. This effort includes a bill I am presenting to you today that goes after those criminals by broadening the human trafficking laws we use to crack down on those who smuggle people across the border.

Source: Arizona 2009 State of the State Address , Jan 12, 2009

You build a 50-foot wall, somebody will find a 51-ft ladder

Napolitano resisted initial efforts on a state crackdown on illegal immigration, instead taking the position that immigration and border security are federal responsibilities.

Napolitano has fought to curb illegal immigration, but has been skeptical that building a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border will solve the problem. She once said: “You build a 50-foot wall, somebody will find a 51-foot ladder.”

Source: Eileen Sullivan on Associated Press , Nov 20, 2008

Crackdown on employers who hire illegal workers, not workers

Napolitano is outspoken about “the Federal government’s failure to fulfill its responsibilities in securing our border & providing for a functional immigration policy.”

The governor opted to: crackdown on employers who hire undocumented workers; catch forgers of ID documents; push for more National Guards and Homeland Security measures to deter border crossings.

Conservatives deride Napolitano’s refusal to support legislation targeting illegal immigrants already in the US working for US employers.

Source: Gubernatorial biography on usliberals.about.com , Nov 20, 2008

Other candidates on Immigration: Janet Napolitano on other issues:
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Page last updated: Mar 13, 2021