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Janet Napolitano Defends Secure Communities Deportation Program

WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Director Janet Napolitano defended her agency’s rollout of Secure Communities, an immigration enforcement program, Monday. Her defense came just days after a Democratic congresswoman accused DHS of…

WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Director Janet Napolitano defended her agency’s rollout of Secure Communities, an immigration enforcement program, Monday. Her defense came just days after a Democratic congresswoman accused DHS of acting deceitful, “arrogant and stupid” in its expansion of the program.

Secure Communities, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement program that shares fingerprints between the FBI and DHS, has come under fire from advocacy groups for netting a large number of non-criminal undocumented immigrants. Although the program’s mission, as defined by DHS, is to detain and deport criminals, the information sharing also leads to the deportation of a large number of people who are never convicted of crimes, including victims of domestic violence who are put in removal proceedings after reporting abuse.

Despite complaints about the program — including from a number of jurisdictions that asked to opt-out — the Obama administration has rapidly expanded Secure Communities and made the program a central component of a record-level immigration enforcement.

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