Friday, November 21, 2008

Napolitano on Immigration

Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona, the expected nominee to be the new Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), has been characterized as "a moderate" on immigration. (See Arizona Republic article.) What does that mean? On immigration, a major responsibility of DHS, she has pleased some people and has angered others. Latinos in Arizona are not her greatest admirers. But for nativists nationally she is soft on immigration. Early she seemed sympathetic to comprehensive reform, to allowing the undocumented get drivers licenses, and spoke against "the fence". But since the collapse of comprehensive immigration reform, she seems to have shifted toward tougher border enforcement. The governor was first to ask for the national guard to assist in patrolling the border and seems to favor a continued role for it. (See Washington Post article.) She signed the toughest state legislation on employers-sanctions. But even these tough measures only perplex the nativists. Napolitano's call for the national guard came after a crime spree along the border, and some believe she signed the employers-sanction bill only to frustrate tougher measures from the Republican-dominated state legislature. The governor has taken on Maricopa County's anti-immigrant sheriff, Joe Arpaio, and took state money away from him and his raiders and vigilantes. Most observers believe she is qualified for the divergent priorities of DHS and probably reflects president-elect Barack Obama's own views. She may continue ICE raids, but direct them more at employer's. The nativists fear she would harness ICE in the neighborhood.

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