Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told me she thinks Arizona’s new immigration law is “bad for law enforcement”. During my “This Week” interview, Napolitano, a former Arizona Attorney General and Governor said, “they’ve already amended the law over the course of the week, and so even the Arizona legislature is starting to recognize there are problems with the law. Unfortunately, I think it does and can invite racial profiling.”
Napolitano also defended federal efforts to police the southwest border. “More assets have been put into Arizona in the last 15 months than ever in history, and actually, the numbers, if you step back and look at it, the numbers actually are down in terms of apprehensions, which indicates fewer illegal crossings, but also up in terms of actual enforcement actions,” Napolitano said.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar added that there is a “clarion call here for comprehensive immigration reform.”
TAPPER: We only have a couple minutes left. I want to turn to a
couple other issues. Secretary Napolitano, as the immediate past
governor of Arizona, do you think the new immigration law in that state
is constitutional? And do you think it invites racial profiling?
NAPOLITANO: Well, I think the Justice Department is looking at the
constitutionality of the law, and I see…
TAPPER: You're a former U.S. attorney.
NAPOLITANO: I'm a former U.S. attorney and attorney general, by the
TAPPER: And prospective Supreme Court nominee. You certainly have
an opinion about whether or not this law is constitutional.
NAPOLITANO: Well, I will say they've already amended the law over
the course of the week, and so even the Arizona legislature is starting
to recognize there are problems with the law. Unfortunately, I think it
does and can invite racial profiling. I think it's bad for law
enforcement. I think it illustrates the need, as the president has
said, for a bipartisan approach to comprehensive immigration reform, in
this town. It's really a cry of frustration from Arizona.
I will say that more assets have been put into Arizona in the last
15 months than ever in history, and actually, the numbers, if you step
back and look at it, the numbers actually are down in terms of
apprehensions, which indicates fewer illegal crossings, but also up in
terms of actual enforcement actions.
So the numbers actually are countered to what the action of the
legislature is. But you know what? There's still a frustration out
there. It's a frustration, ultimately, that will only be solved with
comprehensive immigration reform.
TAPPER: We only have a minute left. Secretary Salazar, your family
has been in this country since the 1500s, from Spain originally, I
believe. Do you worry that, as a Hispanic American, that if you went to
Arizona, you might be racially profiled because of this law?
SALAZAR: You know, Jake, I think the fact of the matter is that
there's a clarion call here for comprehensive immigration reform. And
when you don't have a comprehensive immigration program in place, what
ends up happening is that you do have laws that come up that end up
creating the kinds of injuries (ph) that are being talked about here,
where there is racial profiling, which is a real potential.
And so I think, where the president has been on this and where a
number of the members of Congress, including Senator Reid, have been,
that we need to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform is