She said this on CNN over the weekend:
KING: A lot of Democrats in Congress want to you investigate [Joe Arpaio]. They think he is over the line. He says he is just enforcing the law and the problem is the federal government.
NAPOLITANO: Well, you know, Sheriff Joe, he is being very political in that statement, because he knows that there aren’t enough law enforcement officers, courtrooms or jail cells in the world to do what he is saying.
What we have to do is target the real evil-doers in this business, the employers who consistently hire illegal labor, the human traffickers who are exploiting human misery.
And yes, when we find illegal workers, yes, appropriate action, some of which is criminal, most of that is civil, because crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil. But anyway, going after those as well.
Full transcript here.
Julie Kirchner gently reminds the DHS Secretary of what the law actually says:
ENTRY WITHOUT INSPECTION IS A CRIME: In fact, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1325, crossing the border illegally is a crime–a misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony for the second and subsequent offenses. But of course, ignoring or mischaracterizing the law is a very convenient way for those in power to avoid the laws they find most inconvenient. Sadly, statements such as these are also a signal that Americans will have to wait a long time before their government articulates any credible immigration enforcement policy.
Jena McNeill at The Foundry sees through Napolitano’s parsing:
This ‘interpretation’ of the law by Secretary Napolitano seems to be the latest in an effort by the Obama Administration to scale back interior immigration enforcement efforts in the United States. As recently as March 28th, Napolitano made the decision to delay a series of immigration raids and other workplace actions aimed at finding illegal workers. At the same time, both President Obama and Secretary Napolitano have announced new initiatives intending to send the message that they take the issues at the southern border seriously. But the Administration cannot fight cartels while ignoring illegal immigration—people smuggling is part of the problem, not a separate issue. Legalization will only make matters worse. Granting the people here illegally asylum will only encourage more illegal border crossing. Likewise, failing to enforce workplace and immigration laws will only encourage more to ignore the law.
Yep, that’s The Plan.
There is now a Fire Napolitano website.