The New Head of Homeland Security and Her Friends in Ugly Places

20070227_napolitano_3.jpgPresident-elect Obama has made another cabinet pick, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to head the always troubled Department of Homeland Security. The decision is being praised left and right because of her experience inside the border state and a “practical” attitude. And while I suppose being practical might be useful in a national government post, it doesn’t bode well for the millions of immigrants hoping that the change line Obama has been feeding people includes them and their families.

While a U.S. Attorney, Napolitano, it seems, went out of her way to protect Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Yes, that Sheriff Joe.

More than a decade ago, Napolitano was in a position to help curb Arpaio’s excesses. As a U.S. attorney in 1995, she was put in charge of a Justice Department investigation into atrocious conditions in Arpaio’s “tent city.” Napolitano carried out her task with what can best be described as reluctance, going out of her way to protect Arpaio from flak almost before the probe had started. “We’re doing this with the complete cooperation of the sheriff,” she told the Associated Press. “We run a strict jail but a safe jail, and I haven’t heard from anyone who thinks that this is a bad thing.”…

The Justice Department filed suit and settled with the sheriff the same day after Arpaio agreed to administrative changes, including limiting the use of pepper spray and improving inmate grievance procedures. Napolitano stood with Arpaio at a press conference in which she, according to the Arizona Republic, “pooh-poohed her own lawsuit as ‘lawyerly paperwork.’ ” Arpaio called the result a vindication.

If we need to wonder how Arpaio feels about the appointment, all we have to do is take a look a few years back when he appeared in a television ad supporting Napolitano’s 2002 run for governor.

Want to look into a crystal ball on what we all have to look forward to? Listen/watch to Napolitano talk “illegals” just last year.

Does that sound like change? Does that sound like hope? Sounds like more of the same.

Via / Slate

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