In the wake of the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, an immigration enforcement advocacy organization says it’s essential for the Senate to do a diligent job of vetting whoever President Obama nominates to replace her.
Napolitano, who is just the third person to head the federal agency, announced on Friday she is resigning and will become president of the University of California system, which includes among its campuses UCLA and UC-Berkeley. She served four years as DHS head, a position placed her at the forefront of criticism over the Boston bombings, airport security scanners, and immigration policy.
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), says the outgoing DHS secretary was certainly no friend of border-enforcement proponents.
"Janet Napolitano really carried out the Obama administration’s policy of dismantling immigration enforcement ahead of her obligation to enforce our immigration laws,” he tells OneNewsNow. “And ... obviously for people who want to see our immigration laws enforced, [she] is not going to be missed."
Mehlman says the real question now is how the Senate will vet whoever Obama names as her replacement – and he wonders: "Will they seek any firm commitment on the part of whoever the president appoints to be her successor to enforce the laws that Congress passes, not just implement policies that suit the political objectives of the administration?"
He maintains Congress has been remiss in holding the Obama administration accountable for its refusal to enforce immigration laws – and vetting Napolitano's successor, he believes, will give them a fresh opportunity to assert their constitutional role in the process.
Meanwhile, Thaddeus Taylor of the Inyo County (California) Republican Party believes Napolitano is strategically stepping down at a critical moment. "I don't think she's going to face the same degree of difficulty [in her new position,” he shares. “I believe that unless something goes wrong, Janet is not going to have that much of a problem dealing with the UC system."
It was during Napolitano’s tenure that the Obama administration transitioned from the phraseology “global war on terror” to what became known as “overseas contingency operation.”
"... I understand now why they tried to change the name from the ‘war on terror’ because this woman's job has been more to interdict our own civil rights than it has to preclude successful attacks on American soil,” says Taylor. “Janet probably determined it was time to get while the going was still good and let the serious problems fall upon whoever happens to be her successor."
Napolitano, a former Arizona governor, was appointed by President Obama in 2008. There is no word yet on her successor.