Transcript: Behind-the-Scenes With Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

So there are enforcement things that need to be done. The issue about those already illegally in the country needs to be addressed. The issue about young people who have grown up in the United States, who were brought here by their parents who are illegal. And the president is asking the Congress to take that up in a bipartisan way. And we are here to provide whatever support to the president and to the Congress that they need.

Arizona Immigration Bill

THOMAS: The governor of Arizona did sign this immigration measure. Good policy? Good legislation?

NAPOLITANO: Well, you know, I think the Justice Department will look at some of the civil rights and other aspects of that law. I think it's a great illustration of what I just said. You get pressure on the criminal justice system. And when it gets to a certain point, states will be compelled to adopt laws, some of which are very misguided, as the president said.

THOMAS: You agree with that assessment?

NAPOLITANO: I do. That one is a misguided law. It's not a good law enforcement law. It's not a good law in any number of reasons. But beyond that, what it illustrates is that other states now will feel compelled to do things. And you will have this patchwork of laws where we need a federal immigration system that meets our security needs, that recognizes where we need to go in this 21st century and gives us a better framework on which to stand.

Supreme Court Nominee?

THOMAS: If [the president] asked you to sit on the Supreme court, would you do it?

NAPOLITANO: Oh, you know, obviously I'm not going to answer that question, but it's flattered, I'm flattered to have it asked. We'll just leave it at that.

THOMAS: I can tell you from our reporting that our sources say you are on the list of people he's considering so – as a lawyer, you obviously, like you said, it's flattering. I know you have a lot on your plate now. You seem to be enjoying the job that you're doing. That is a very important job that makes a huge impact on the country as well.

NAPOLITANO: Yes, you know, like I said, it's flattering to be considered. You know, I began my career as a lawyer. I'm someone who has been a private lawyer and public lawyer, both – as a commercial lawyer and a prosecutor. So it is flattering as a member of the profession to be on that list with some people who have amazing credentials.

Pressures of the Job

THOMAS: I just want to ask one final question about the homeland security. Twenty-two agencies, a huge department. Can it be managed properly? Are you getting the things you need to do your job the way you think you need to do it? I've seen you today deal with everything from hurricanes to the oil rig explosion. It's a lot on the plate. Your assessment?

NAPOLITANO: It's a big plate. But it make sense. I mean when you actually boil it down, we have five major missions. One is to work on counter-terrorism and to minimize the risk of a successful terrorist attack on the United States. The second is to secure the borders -- land borders, but also air and sea.

The third is effective, smart immigration enforcement, strong immigration enforcement, even as we work with the president and with the Congress to reform the immigration law.

The fourth is the protection of cyberspace. We're beginning to do a lot of work in that area.

THOMAS: Is that a real threat? How big a threat?

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