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"Immigration Moderate" Napolitano Tapped for Homeland Security Post

December 2, 2008

Phoenix, AZ – President-elect Obama's choice for Secretary of Homeland Security is generating criticism as well as support. The critics say Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano straddles the fence on immigration issues while supporters call her nomination a level-headed approach.

Napolitano brings a mixed record on immigration enforcement to her potential new job. Some fault her for vetoing bills targeting undocumented workers while signing into law harsh sanctions against employers who hire them. But, Craig Thoresen, director of multicultural services for Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, says Napolitano has shown an ability to find a middle ground on a politically explosive issue.

"She's a rational voice that can weigh the very diverse opinions on immigration, as well as negotiate, compromise and come to a resolution that seems to work."

During her six years as Governor, Napolitano criticized the federal government for failing to deal with the immigration issue, and was known to have drawn a line between what she believed were federal responsibilities and what the state could do to enforce immigration law. She resisted lawmakers' pressure to send National Guard troops to the border, but supported troop deployments under federal direction, says Thoresen.

"I think people are unhappy on both sides, pro and anti-immigration groups, but I think she has found some middle ground that makes sense."

Her supporters say Napolitano has the experience with immigration issues to help facilitate some reasonable solutions.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ