Longform

Janet Napolitano Oversaw a Massive Ethnic-Cleansing Against Immigrants

If you enjoy nausea, the effusive praise for departing U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano should be just your cup of castor oil.

After four-plus years as DHS chief, in charge of a sprawling government agency with 240,000 employees and 22 government agencies, Napolitano announced her resignation last week, giving up on President Barack Obama's ever kicking her up the food chain to become U.S. Attorney General, her dream job.

Now she's off to run the University of California system, with its 10 campuses, more than 230,000 students and nearly 19,000 faculty, at an annual salary of about three times her current $200,000 with the feds.

There's been speculation that her departure was rushed along by the debacle of the Boston Marathon bombings in April. Two brothers of Chechen descent are suspected of killing three people and wounding 264 otherswith bombs crafted from pressure cookers.

The bombings revealed possible intelligence failures by the FBI and DHS. Seems the bureau had been given a heads-up about one of the suspects by the Russian Federation, and the FBI even questioned the man at one point.

But the FBI claimed it found no evidence of terrorist activity, and the future bomber was free to travel from the United States to Russia and back again, despite the fact that the DHS also handles immigration — that is, those coming and going from this country — and communicating with the FBI about such matters.

This issue aside, there's been no outcry for Napolitano's resignation. The consensus seems to be that she just landed a better gig with a fatter salary.

And since U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is keeping his job, and since she's been passed over twice for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court — another position she's craved — best to be movin' on while the gettin's good.

"I think she's just worn out," a friend of hers told me recently. "And she wants to make some money."

Her exit stage west prompted a round of backslapping from some of America's political elite.

"If I had to give her a grade on her tenure, it would be A-plus," enthused New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, who in the same statement proffered New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as her replacement.

California Congresswoman and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi praised Napolitano's "strength, intellect, and dedication to duty," saying the DHS secretary took on "some of the toughest challenges facing our country."

Even gnarly old Arizona Republican John McCain seemed uncharacteristically generous, noting that Napolitano had "one of the toughest and most thankless jobs in Washington" and asserting that Arizonans can be "proud" of their ex-governor.

"We have had our share of disagreements during her time as secretary," the senior senator stated, "but I have never doubted her integrity, work ethic, or commitment to our nation's security."

Her boss, President Obama, issued a heartwarming bon voyage, stating that he's "come to rely on Janet's judgment and advice" during her time in D.C.

"Since day one, Janet has led my administration's effort to secure our borders," Obama said, adding, "while also taking steps to make our immigration system fairer and more consistent with our values."

Only if your values include mass arrests, police-state tactics, militarism, and ruthlessness toward our society's most vulnerable members.

Because what these well-wishers omit is this terrifying number: 2 million.

This is the estimated 2 million mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, grandmothers and grandfathers ripped from their families during Napolitano's reign as the nation's chief immigration enforcer. The overwhelming majority of them Latino.

Indeed, when astute future historians assess Napolitano's role in Obama's presidency, they will perceive her as a shill in one of the cruelest cons ever perpetuated on a segment of the American public.

For, as most political observers know, Latinos have awarded Obama's promises on immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship with unprecedented support — 71 percent of Latino voters having backed Obama in the 2012 election.

And, in return, an ever-smiling Obama has dished out to their friends and family members — and themselves — a heaping plate of injustice, punishment, and misery. Not directly, mind you. But via his appointed hunter of Hispanics, Janet Napolitano.


More than once, Napolitano, a Democrat, has admitted to looking at the world from a law enforcement perspective. Before she was elected governor in 2002, she'd been U.S. Attorney for Arizona and the state's attorney general.

She was tapped for the DHS in part because she endorsed Obama early in the 2008 presidential primary season, when he and Hillary Clinton were at each other's throats vying for their party's nomination. Obama desperately needed a Democratic woman of note to campaign for him.

Even then, Napolitano lusted after the post that Eric Holder ultimately scored. But Obama-ites saw her better-suited to be the administration's token nativist, their Democratic border hawk, with a résumé to impress even some hard-nosed Hispanic haters while placating the left with a patina of progressivism.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons