With the recent announcement of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s resignation, the Department of Homeland Security and its nearly two dozen agencies are left wondering where they go from here.
Intense debates over the nation’s immigration system and Napolitano and Congress at odds over how to fix it, Napolitano is departing, leaving behind a federal agency that many say is broken.
Although many don’t see the Department of Homeland Security in action, other than the brief encounters with the airport screeners when they catch a flight out of town, the Department’s scope is incredibly broad, as it now oversees everything from protecting the President through Secret Service duties to enforcing border protection through the Customs and Border Protection.
Many say the Department of Homeland Security, which is but a decade old, lacks a clear focus and has been marked with a number of controversies, namely sweeping immigration policies created by Napolitano but fought by Congress. For example, Napolitano’s proposed policy to grant young, illegal immigrants within the United States reprieve from deportation was finally approved, but not without a considerable amount of debate and conflict.
With terrorism fresh on the minds of Americans when Napolitano first took office, her focus remained there as she traveled the globe, speaking to others about travel security policies and information sharing.
Among her higher profile challenges as Department of Homeland Security Secretary were surprising scandals, including Secret Service wild nights while on presidential duty in Columbia and the release of detainees from immigration jails. Budget cuts resulted in more than 2,000 people being released from immigration jails.
Where does the Department of Homeland Security go from here? Employees around the globe hope for an agency with more focus and a clearly defined mission.