U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's pick to oversee homeland security faces questions on topics ranging from federal emergency response to immigration enforcement at her Senate hearing.
Janet Napolitano, a twice-elected governor of Arizona named to head the Homeland Security Department, was scheduled to testify Thursday before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
Napolitano will be asked about some of the issues she opposed as governor, including the Mexico border fence and an identification program that requires states to bear the cost of making drivers' licenses more secure.
As governor, Napolitano fought to curb illegal immigration but was skeptical about whether building a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border would solve the problem. She once said, "You build a 50-foot wall, somebody will find a 51-foot ladder."
The fence is about 75 percent built and her department is responsible for completing it.
Napolitano was a prominent figure in the debate over Real ID, a federal program launched after the 2001 terror attacks to make drivers' licenses more secure.
In 2007, she struck a deal with the administration that was supposed to lead to her state adopting the Real ID standards. In June, she signed legislation refusing to implement the requirements.
As homeland security secretary, Napolitano would have to sell the program to other governors or, if Obama agrees, abandon the rules.
Homeland Security, the newest and third largest department in the federal government, was organized following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
It includes divisions that oversee the borders, development of radiation detection equipment, the study of infectious diseases and enforcement of maritime laws. The agency also is charged with keeping terrorists off airplanes and protecting the president.