Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano is about to be confirmed as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Her hearing is scheduled for today. In Gov. Napolitano President-elect Obama has made a safe pick: the Governor is well-regarded, popular, comes from a border state, and has been out in front of many immigration issues.

Gov. Napolitano can impact healthcare immigration in two ways:

1. She may help the President-elect shape immigration policy, including, perhaps, a future Comprehensive Immigration Reform. No CIR bill (heavy or lite) is going to pass without the President-elect’s overt endorsement. His office will help shape any CIR bill, just as previous CIR efforts largely have been shaped by the Executive branch. Odds are that if the President-elect thinks that CIR is a wise idea, he will look to the Governor for advice on how to compose a new CIR.

2. Administrative processing. Gov. Napolitano’s leadership could pave the way for wider readings of statute and law, a consistent product of opinion, and a reduction of processing timelines.

Here are several recent articles that discuss the Governor and her background:

USA Today: Napolitano shuns ideologies, welcomes practicality

Arizona Republic: Article that summarizes some of her Immigration stances