Janet Napolitano announced her resignation as Secretary of Homelande Security on Friday and lawmaker comments on the move have ranged from congratulatory to disappointment that she did not do more to secure the nation's borders and reduce the country's terrorism threats.
Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona, announced Friday that she was stepping down to become the new president of the University of California system, according to the Washington Post
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Two administration officials told the Washington Post that Napolitano had planned to leave her post for months and hopes to take over the reign of one of the largest public university systems in the nation sometime in September.
Napolitano's departure leaves Obama with a Cabinet-level vacancy as the U.S. House debate on an immigration bill passed by the Senate reaches a critical stage.
U.S. Sen. John McCain acknowledged in a statement reported by The Sacramento Bee
that Napolitano had a difficult road as head of homeland security, calling it "one of the toughest and most thankless jobs in Washington."
"We have had our share of disagreements during her time as secretary, but I have never doubted her integrity, work ethic or commitment to our nation's security," McCain said. "The people of Arizona can be very proud of our former governor's service, and I wish her all the best as she assumes leadership of the nation's largest public university system."
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who will welcome Napolitano to her home state of California, said her work in trying to get a nonpartisan immigration bill is evidence that she can reach across party lines.
"I know Secretary Napolitano to be both smart and competent – qualities she has demonstrated as Secretary of Homeland Security," Feinstein said in a statement, according to The Bee. "Her recent support for immigration reform – particularly the bipartisan Senate bill – aided its strong 68-vote passage in the Senate."
Texas U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the Wall Street Journal "the border is not secure
, and the threat of terrorism is not diminishing," in a statement response to Napolitano announcement.
The Wall Street Journal wrote that Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said in an interview that Napolitano tried to make the best of a challenging situation in homeland security.
"She was in a tough position where she had to enforce even what she recognized was a bad set of laws," Noorani told the Wall Street Journal. "But she has always been an unflinching advocate and supporter of comprehensive immigration reform."
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