Most have heralded President-elect Barack Obama’s appointment of Arizona governor Janet Napolitano to head the Department of Homeland Security. As someone who has experience leading a border state, the pick seemed to make sense. But recent analysis has begun to expose her mixed approach to the issue of border protection and immigration.

Senior editor for Cook Political Report Jennifer Duffy recently talked to the Arizona Capitol Times about Napolitano’s approach.

"I think, given the state she represents, (that) is not a big surprise because she did a little bit of both — being very concerned about border security on one hand while trying to deal with the immigration population she has," she told the paper.

In Democratic circles, Napolitano is mostly viewed as a hawk, but many Republicans don’t view her the same way.

"She's been an impediment to securing our borders. She's been an impediment to enforcing the law," Arizona Rep. Russell Pearce told the Arizona Capitol Times.

Even some Democrats have viewed Napolitano’s experience with border control and immigration with some skepticism.

"I think immigration came at her. She was very effective at countering, but it wasn't her choosing," Rep. Ben Miranda told the Arizona Capitol Times. "We were at Ground Zero for immigration in Arizona."

Napolitano has made some strong moves when it comes to securing the border. In 2005, she declared a state of emergency along the Mexican border in order to free up money to help control immigration along the border. In 2006, she sent the Arizona National Guard to the border. And in 2007, she signed the nation’s toughest law, penalizing businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers by taking away their business licenses.

More can be found about Napolitano’s immigration record in the Arizona Capitol Times.

Illegal Immigration

Updated: Mon, Dec 8th 2008 @ 11:14am EST