Naming his national security team, President-elect Obama acknowledged that the attacks in Mumbai once again emphasized the threat of terrorism and the importance of these picks for “a new dawn of American leadership.”
But Obama’s choice for Secretary of Homeland Security, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, has a record of opposing border control to stop the flow of illegal immigrants (and therefore the criminals, gangs, drug smugglers and terrorists that inevitably accompany it). She also opposes any internal controls to detect and prevent illegals from unlawfully exploiting the benefits and privileges of our society. Under Napolitano, “change” for DHS may mean dismantling the agency’s most important functions.
Although Napolitano likes to cite her declaration of a border emergency as evidence of her supposed tough stand on border control, her declaration was mostly a phony publicity stunt. It didn’t lead to any real or sustained actions to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and to catch and deport those already here. She has always opposed the kind of border controls, enforcement policies and legal measures necessary to solve this problem. And she has been very vocal about it.
Napolitano has made it clear that she opposes the building of any kind of fence to stop the flow of illegals crossing the Arizona-Mexico border. Consider who she recently hired as a new policy advisor on border and immigration issues: Ray Borane, the former mayor of Douglas, Ariz. Borane has long criticized the federal effort to build a border fence, saying that it ignores the “interconnectedness” of the U.S and Mexican communities. He and his new boss apparently believe that allowing criminals and terrorists to “interconnect” across an unguarded southern border is something we shouldn’t take any steps to prevent.
Napolitano vetoed a bill passed by the Arizona legislature that would have banned local government from accepting Mexican-issued consular (matricula) cards, cards that are really used only by illegal immigrants. She vetoed a bill that would have authorized police officers to arrest and detain illegal aliens, even though federal law expressly permits such local cooperation. When the legislature passed a law imposing employer sanctions for hiring illegal aliens, she proposed forcing individuals who filed complaints to identify themselves. Never mind that such a requirement would have made it virtually impossible for legal employees to inform law enforcement authorities for fear of retribution.
And despite a documented problem of aliens registering and voting in Arizona, Napolitano vetoed a bill requiring Arizonans to show proof of citizenship to register to vote and show ID at the polls. When Arizonans put a referendum on the 2004 ballot to require proof of citizenship to register, to show an ID to vote, and to provide proof of eligibility to receive nonfederal public benefits, Napolitano not only spoke out against it, but even appeared at rallies organized by the opposition.
After the ballot referendum passed overwhelmingly, Napolitano vetoed a state bill that would have expanded the scope of state benefits denied to illegal aliens beyond those specified in the referendum. She also vetoed a bill declaring English as the state’s official language, showing her opposition to any requirements that immigrants assimilate into our culture when they come here. She pushed a measure that would have provided driver’s licenses to illegal aliens (like the 9/11 hijackers) and supported in-state tuition for illegal aliens.
Solving our broken border is a matter of national security. It isn’t just that the huge flow of illegal immigrants overwhelms our economic resources. It allows criminals and drug smugglers to slip across our border, as well as terrorists who could engage in attacks just like what happened in India. As long as we fail to build a fence and otherwise increase our security along our southern border, we risk suffering the same type of attack.
Detecting and deporting the millions of illegal aliens now resident in this country (as well as encouraging them to leave voluntarily of their own accord) is a complex problem. It requires not only cooperation between federal and state law enforcement authorities, but the passage of federal and state laws that get rid of the economic incentives that attract illegal immigrants and keep them here. This means enforcing sanctions against employers that hire illegals; getting rid of eligibility for public benefits and welfare payments; not issuing or accepting documents that can be used as ID such as driver’s licenses or matricula cards; deporting illegals who have had their claims of asylum denied by immigration courts; and preventing illegals from voting in elections and potentially influencing elected officials in ways that make it impossible to get rid of them.
Gov. Napolitano has been on the wrong side on almost all of these issues. Her desire for open borders risks our national well being and our security. Putting her in charge of DHS would be like handing the keys to Fort Knox to Auric Goldfinger. She may not be the worst possible choice that Obama could make to be the key player in protecting our internal security, but she comes close.