Interesting commentary by Robert Dekoven in the Gay and Lesbian Times regarding Governor Janet Napolitano. Dekoven’s “Beyond The Briefs” applauds Obama and Napolitano on her nomination to Secretary of Homeland Security.
Obama’s choice of Janet Napolitano as secretary of homeland security is significant for us too.
Napolitano, the current governor of Arizona, is supportive of gay rights and, as secretary of homeland security, can instruct her immigration staff to grant asylum to gay and lesbian refugees who flee persecution in their native countries.
Former Attorney General Janet Reno initiated this concept, but right-wing immigration attorneys in the Bush administration argued to send GLBT people seeking asylum back to their countries of origin, as long as there were remote places where they could hide. (Imagine sending Jews back to Nazi Germany to live in the hills!)
Napolitano will also have the power to remove the homophobic immigration judges DHS hired under Bush, and this will affect other areas of immigration law too. For instance, it will affect whether we can bring our spouses to the U.S., as straights can, without fear they will be sent back.