Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the city will get $35 million in transit security stimulus money that the city can use to hire more police officers. She says the money will put more than 100 additional cops on city subways and busses. The move comes a day after the Obama Administration bypassed the city in a separate stimulus program for local police departments. The Justice Department had said other communities needed the money more.
Earlier today, at the Council on Foreign Relations, Napolitano discussed counterterrorism efforts. She says more needs to be done to share counterterrorism efforts with local governments, and even with ordinary citizens. She also defended the Bush-era program of letting local police departments enforce federal immigration laws. Immigrant advocates were not satisfied.
Outside the Council on Foreign Relations, the city's leading immigrant advocates gathered to deride Napolitano for continuing policies they hoped would be reversed by the Obama administration. Top among them - allowing local police to help immigration agents find and deport illegal immigrants.
Napolitano recently announced she would renew some agreements with police departments around the country and expand the program to other localities, including two in New Jersey. Opponents say the program results in police singling out Latinos for arrests and that it creates fear of the police. Inside, Napolitano defended the program, saying it's been redesigned to make sure police focus on immigrants who've committed violent crimes or are gang members. (To the advocates, however, it's unclear how Homeland Security can oversee those priorities.)