Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday that illegal immigrant students and young adults who meet the criteria in last year’s failed legalization bill in Congress are not a “priority” for her department’s law enforcement efforts.
Wading into an increasingly thorny debate, Miss Napolitano said she cannot unilaterally ignore deportations laws for broad groups of illegal immigrants, but said students and young adults who would have been legalized had last year’s “Dream Act” legislation passed Congress are not a chief target of federal authorities.
“I will say, and can say, that you know what? They are not, that group, if they truly meet all those criteria, and we see very few of them actually in the immigration system, if they truly meet those [criteria], they’re not the priority,” the secretary said at an event sponsored by NDN, a progressive think tank and advocacy group, on the future of the nation’s border policies.
“The reason we set priorities is so that the focus could be on those in the country who are also committing other illegal acts,” she said.