Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 24, 2009

Immigration Team Emerging

Filed under: Border Security,Immigration — by Philip J. Palin on February 24, 2009


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.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

February 25, 2009 @ 9:21 am

Reluctantly I have to admit that one major initiative of BUSH/CHERTOFF team was there effort at immigration reform. Killed by Republicans in Senate it does provide a firm basis for whatever modifications or approach is needed. Perhaps the tremendous time and effort put forth by Chertoff on Immigration was because he knew from his past in the DOJ how badly DOJ had treated the former INS and associated entities that dealt with immigration. After FEMA handled the Mariel Boatlift in 1980 (one of the reasons Carter lost) the Congress over the objections of DOJ mandated that a MASS IMMIGRATION EMERGENCY PLAN be developed by INS. That was never done. The most recent reincarnation was PLAN DISTANT SHORE which badly needs updating. Personally, as many who have read my comments know, DEA should have been moved into DHS. Also the Drug CZAR should be part of the National Security Council. Why talk about this? Because I have long advocated separate treatment of Mexico and Mexicans differently than the subject of illegal immigration from the rest of world including the rest of the Western Hemisphere. Superficially it may look like a blessing that many Mexicans are returning home because of the downturn in the American economy. But they will not find relief at home because Mexico’s economy is closely linked to the US. We must come up with a totatlly revised Mexican policy fast because those “returnees” for want of a better term having experienced a relatively free and uncorrupt environment in the US are not going to be satisfied with corrupt governornance and rule by the criminal drug cartels. This is already a major national security and homeland security problem so that any attempt to reform immigration polic–legal or illegal– that does not recognize that in many ways Mexico and the US are one country will be doomed to failure. This breakout was not attempted by BUSH/CHERTOFF but should have been. One suggestion, now that Wall-street helped “Privatize” and ruin Mexico’s Social Security system why not just consider incorporation of Mexico’s system together with that of the US, with Mexico’s permission of course. WE (the US) need the young workers contributing and they need the saftey and security of care for their aging population. Just a thought. We definitely need to start thinking outside of the box on Mexico or DISTANT SHORE will be renamed Mexican revolution and forcing the border in the millions in a hurry by those seeking security, food, shelter, and jobs. No internment camps please as part of the design.

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