Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will stay in her post during President Obama's second term, The Washington Post has reported. (AFP / Getty Images)
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano reportedly will stay on the job as President Obama gets ready to start his second term in the White House.
The Washington Post reports that an unnamed White House official confirmed Napolitano, a former Arizona governor, will stay on. Napolitano is expected to play a key role as the Obama administration tackles ways to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws and tighten border security.
She has been coping with the death of her father, Leonard, who died of natural causes earlier this month. Leonard Napolitano, a former dean of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, died one day before his 83rd birthday.
Napolitano has been credited by some in Congress with increasing the deportations of illegal immigrants and helping to improve airport screening. Critics such as Texas GOP Rep. Lamar Smith, the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the Homeland Security Department looked more like “a customer service agency for illegal immigrants” under her watch.
Obama’s second term will start with some key changes in his Cabinet. He has tapped former Nebraska GOP senator Chuck Hagel, who faces a tough confirmation, to be his next Defense secretary. Treasury Secretary nominee Jack Lew, who will take over for Timothy Geithner, is expected to have an easier time before the Senate as will Sen. John Kerry, who is slated to be the next secretary of State.
Napolitano’s name had been frequently mentioned as a possible attorney general, but Eric Holder has said he will stay on as head of the Justice Department. Other Cabinet holdovers include Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
Editor’s note: Catalina Camia reports for USA Today.