Though President Obama has yet to nominate a replacement for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, potential nominee Raymond Kelly, the New York City police commissioner, has drawn pointed criticism.
Muslim civil rights groups, including the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition and Muslim Advocates, have voiced opposition to Kelly because of the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims.
“His willingness to use discriminatory policing methods against innocent citizens should concern Americans of every faith, ethnic and racial background,” said Glenn Katon, the legal director of the San Francisco-based Muslim Advocates, in an article from Religion News Service.
Speculation about Kelly’s possible nomination has grown since President Obama noted in July that “Mr. Kelly might be very happy where he is, but if he’s not I’d want to know about it, because obviously he’d be very well qualified for the job.”
The NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practice has also generated controversy for violating civil rights.
A National Journal survey of more than 100 defense and foreign policy experts found a plurality, nearly 40 percent, in favor of Thad Allen, a former commandant of the Coast Guard. Twenty-eight percent said the next homeland security secretary should be Jane Harman, a former congresswoman who now heads the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.
In June, Napolitano announced that she will leave the Homeland Security Department in September to become the president of the University of California system. She was confirmed for that role by the UC regents July 18.
DHS also lacks a permanent deputy secretary, with Rand Beers serving in an acting role after Jane Holl Lute stepped down earlier this year.
Obama’s nominee to be deputy secretary, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas, had a confirmation hearing July 25, but no Republicans attended due to allegations of misconduct involving Mayorkas.
Speculation persists over new DHS secretary – Fierce Homeland Security