Homeland Security secretary resigning to head University of California system
Last Updated: 147 days ago
WASHINGTON - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who led the burgeoning Department of Homeland Security through a host of policy changes in the era after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against the U.S. is resigning to head the University of California system.
Napolitano, just the third person to lead the 10-year-old department, told her senior staff Friday she would be leaving. The University of California also announced Napolitano's nomination to be the 20th president of the statewide system.
It was not immediately clear who President Barack Obama was considering as Napolitano's replacement. While no serious short list of names has emerged in Washington for Napolitano's permanent replacement, an official said some of the names circulating in Congress include former Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, retired Independent Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman and Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins. Lieberman and Collins co-wrote the legislation that created the department a decade ago.
Napolitano, a former Arizona governor and attorney general, was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2008. She had led the department through a series of policy changes with respect to protecting the public safety, including a focus on enforcing immigration laws.
Under her tenure, DHS implemented a wide-spread policy of using prosecutorial discretion when arresting immigrants in the country without permission, saying her department needed to focus its scarce resources on criminals and those who posed a threat to public safety and national security. She also helped establish a plan to provide temporary relief from deportation for thousands of young immigrants who arrived in the United State illegally and don't have legal status.
Obama issued a statement commending Napolitano for "her outstanding work on behalf of the American people over the last four years."
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