Secretary of The Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, is interviewed on Larry King.
KING: Another — in that same report was this line here, on the threat of extremism at home. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
The Democratic chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee has taken offense with that language. He says, well, wait a minute, are you singling people out just for their political views? Because we are having a conversation that is based on this gift of free speech. So if I’m an anarchist, if I oppose abortion — there are many things that I could believe or anyone out there could believe that you would find horrible. I’m allowed to think it, I’m allowed to say it, as long as I do anything wrong…
KING: Who are these groups? Do you have active investigations of anti-immigration groups or anti-abortion groups, you believe that they are preparing to conduct terrorist attacks?
NAPOLITANO: Well, without going into ongoing work, let’s just point out to history. And we’ll take the abortion, for example. Of course, people have different points of view about abortion. The last thing the Department of Homeland Security is about is infringing on anybody’s constitutionally protected rights. On the other hand, at the very edge of the debate, at the very edge are the extremist groups that have committed violent crimes. They’ve committed bombings and the like.
And that is where you cross from constitutionally protected free speech, freedom of assembly, all the rights we cherish, into homeland security and law enforcement. When is that right not being exercised, it’s being abused…
KING: The administration has said it would like to move ahead on comprehensive immigration reform. That it would include some legal status for the millions who are in the United States illegally.
We went down to your state recently to explore this issue. And a man you’re very familiar with, the Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio, we asked him, because of all the controversy about him rounding up illegal immigrants and some people aren’t illegal immigrants, we asked him if he had a message for you and for the president of the United States.
And this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTRY, ARIZONA: I want the president, I want the politicians to say, we are going to enforce all of the illegal immigration laws and if you come into this country illegally, you’re going to be prosecuted and put in jail.
Let them say that. I’m waiting for them to say that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: A lot of Democrats in Congress want to you investigate him. 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.
NOTE TO JANET NAPOLITANO:
The Constitution of the United States of America is NOT a group of “suggestions” lumped together into a document.