As she prepares to leave office, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Tuesday she leaves her department better prepared to face natural disasters and terrorist attacks, and with a more sensible stance on immigration policy.
And she had advice for her successor, whom President Obama has not named yet: "You will need a large bottle of Advil."
As the department's third secretary, Ms. Napolitano spent much of her time still trying to get a handle on the massive bureaucracy, created 10 years ago to combat the increased threat of terrorism after the September 11 attacks.
She expanded screening operations at airports, managed the creation of new criminal task forces and oversaw responses to the Boston Marathon bombing and Hurricane Sandy — and said her agencies have learned from each of those events.
"For every attack we experience, every threat we face, and every piece of intelligence we come across, we learn. We assess our preparations and capabilities. We make changes," the former Arizona governor said.
On immigration, she again pushed for Congress to enact a broad bill legalizing most illegal immigrants, but said she was proud of the work her department has done in the meantime, deporting a record number of immigrants while also drawing a line around large sectors of the population she said shouldn't be deported.
"We instructed our immigration agents and officers to use their discretion under current law to not pursue low-priority immigration cases, like children brought to the United States illegally by their parents — children brought here through no fault of their own and who know no other country as their home," she said.
Ms. Napolitano is leaving to head the University of California school system.
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