As Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano appears ready to become the first Democratic secretary of Homeland Security, pro- and anti-immigration observers are trying to decipher what her designation will mean for the future of immigration laws under President Barack Obama.
Napolitano, Spanish wire Agencia EFE remembered today, declared a state of emergency on the U.S.-Mexico border and was the first governor to ask for National Guard troops to be deployed to secure the border between the two countries. She has also vetoed tough immigration enforcement bills put forward by state Republicans and advocated measures like the prosecution of companies that hire undocumented workers. Overall she is seen as more of a hardliner on immigration than most Democrats.
Napolitano’s approach on immigration is fundamentally pragmatic, her friend and think tank founder Fred DuVal told the Christian Science Monitor, adding her philosophy is, “Drop the ideology and let’s talk about what we need to both make the border secure and the relationship with Mexico functional.”
“Napolitano is probably the closest the Democrats could get to an immigration hawk,” Mark Kirkorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank advocating low immigration rates, told reporter Matthew Bell of nationally-syndicated radio show The World. [You can hear Bell’s report here.]