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Napolitano defends immigration policies

Immigration issues continue to make news headlines, especially in regard to deportations and the controversial Secure Communities program. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday that the U.S government expects to set a new record this year for deportations under U.S immigration law.

The DHS Secretary defended immigration policies, including the Secure Communities program during a speech Wednesday at American University in the nation's Capitol city. While critics of the Secure Communities program have argued that the government's deportation policies split up families, Napolitano says the administration has pushed Congress to tackle immigration reform. In the meantime, Napolitano said Wednesday, the administration's current removal and deportation policies have fundamentally changed the composition of who is being included in the record number of U.S. deportation proceedings.

Napolitano said Wednesday in regard to the record number of deportations this year, "It will consist of more convicted criminals, recent border-crossers, egregious immigration law violators and immigration fugitives than ever before."

The DHS Secretary's speech comes more than a month after the government announced its intent to review roughly 300,000 removal and deportation cases pending in U.S. Immigration courts. The federal government said lower-priority deportation cases would be suspended under the new enforcement policy.

Napolitano said Wednesday, "It makes sense to prioritize our finite resources on removing a Mexican citizen who is wanted for murder in his home country ahead of a Mexican national who is the sole provider for his American citizen spouse. It makes sense to remove a Costa Rican man convicted of sexual assault against a minor before we spend the time and money to send a mother back to her violent and abusive husband in Jamaica, separating her from her American-born children."

Due to the continued complexity of U.S. immigration laws, whether the issue involves deportation, employment-based immigration or adjustments to immigration status, it is critical for individuals or businesses in South Florida to speak with a legal professional who has extensive specialized knowledge and experience in immigration law.

Source: CNN "Napolitano: Record number of deportations expected in 2011" Oct. 5, 2011

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