As governor of the border state of Arizona, Janet Napolitano was on the front line of the immigration debate. As the new secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, she inherits a department that was recently blasted by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. The New York Times called the institute's scathing report a "portrait of dysfunction."
Napolitano joins Madeleine Brand to discuss what's in store for federal immigration policy. A transcript of the conversation follows.
Madeleine Brand: As governor of Arizona … you signed the toughest law in the nation against employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. How will you change federal immigration policy?
Janet Napolitano: We're going to do a few things. First of all, the rule of law applies on the border, and we want to make sure that that happens, No. 1. That means manpower. That means technology — things like ground sensors. It means interior enforcement against those who intentionally are going into the illegal labor market and creating a demand for illegal laborers, so that's all going to continue. How we do that may change with me as a new secretary, but we want to make sure the rule of law is applied, and it's applied fairly and forcefully across the border. And then we'll look for ways to, through our administrative process, facilitate the applications of citizenship for those who are entitled to become citizens. Are there things we can streamline, some red tape we can cut? Those are the kinds of things we want to look at as well.
Monday, February 16, 2009
NPR Interviews Sec. Napolitano on Immigration Issues
Secretary Napolitano defers a lot of the answers to whatever Congress decides to do for an overhaul of the system. The thing I'd like to know, however, is what will she be planning for DHS in the meantime...