Secretary Napolitano has appointed Esther Olavarria Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy. The Olavarria appointment further strengthens the “fix immigration team” being assembled. She was part of the Democrat’s so-called “shadow government” at the Center for American Progress where she focused on immigration policy.
John Morton, a Justice Department career professional, will be nominated by the President to serve as Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Until last month Morton was Acting Chief of the DOJ Domestic Security Section.
More background on both appointments is available in the DHS news release.
At the time of her nomination Secretary Napolitano was widely seen as a Governor who effectively threaded-the-needle with tough border security that avoided anti-immigrant fear-mongering.
In one of her first official acts the new Secretary directed “department offices and components to work together and with state and local partners to review and assess the plans and policies to address: criminal and fugitive aliens; legal immigration benefit backlogs; southbound gun smuggling; cooperation with the National Guard; widows and widowers of U.S. citizens; immigration detention centers; and electronic employee verification.” On February 20 she was to have received oral reports on this review .
According to Monday’s USA Today, quoting DHS sources, the economic recession is contributing to a decline in illegal immigration. This could contribute to a political environment more conducive to crafting an immigration policy fix.