Despite being a border-state governor, Janet Napolitano (the Democrat tapped to head the Dept. of Homeland Security) has given a lot of lip service to border security, but not much more, other than vetoing numerous border-enforcement measures coming out of her state legislature. Of course, there has also been a generous amount of lip service on this subject from Republicans at the state and federal levels, too. Yet The New York Times editorial board sees it another way:
If Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona is confirmed as homeland security secretary, she will leave behind a state in full Republican control, with immigration zealots embedded in both house of the Legislature, and not enough moderates to go around. This is the down side of President-elect Barack Obama's decision to bring Ms. Napolitano to Washington...Ms. Napolitano's successor as governor would be the secretary of state, Jan Brewer, a Republican who is expected to be far more willing to sign whatever tough immigration measures get to her desk.Of course, it could also be argued that the Times editorial board is embedded with open-border zealots who opposed even the most reasonable legislation to protect America's borders. A federal agency chief is to a large degree more like a mouthpiece or figurehead for polices crafted by the White House, with the actual work carried out by the behind-the-scenes staff, including the career civil service employees. But be that as it may, given the recent horrific events in Mumbai, let's hope the incoming administration is serious about border security. Homeland security and border security, two sides of the same coin, aren't they? The general election campaign offered the American people virtually no discussion of immigration, legal or illegal--one of many missed opportunities. During the primary season, Obama came out in favor of drivers' licenses for illegal aliens, however, so draw your own conclusions.
Separately, incumbent DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff announced on December 17 that the government has completed 500 miles of the long-delayed fencing along the Southwest border, and that the administration expects to have at least 600 miles completed by Obama's January 20th inauguration.
In the meantime, Attorney General designee Eric Holder may run into some difficulties in the confirmation process over his involvement with eleventh-hour Clinton administration pardons while then serving as deputy attorney general. Questions have been raised over his role in the controversial pardons of fugitive financier Marc Rich and well as 16 FALN terrorists. It's also interesting how the candidate of "change" has tapped so many Clinton retreads for his Cabinet.