Deportation Law Change to Crackdown on Criminal Illegal Immigrants

The Homeland Security Department has announced new rules meaning that many illegal immigrants who would ordinarily be deported will now be allowed to stay in the country to seek a work permit – as long as they have no criminal record.

Janet Napolitano, who is Homeland Security Secretary, announced earlier this week that the department is changing its focus to deal primarily with illegal immigrants who are criminals or pose a threat to national security or public safety. It is believed under the amendments approximately 300,000 cases currently pending in the immigration courts regarding deportations will have to be reviewed.

Napolitano explained the move in a letter to a group of senators: “From a law enforcement and public safety perspective, DHS enforcement resources must continue to be focused on our highest priorities. Doing otherwise hinders our public safety mission - clogging immigration court dockets and diverting DHS enforcement resources away from individuals who pose a threat to public safety.”

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In recent times the Homeland Security Department has been criticized by various groups for focusing too much on deporting people who simply do not have the correct documentation, as well as others arrested for minor traffic violations and other such offenses.

According to AP the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Secure Communities program has been especially condemned. The program uses fingerprints collected by local law enforcement agencies for relatively minor offenses, and cross-references them with the federal immigration database to identify illegal immigrants. This means people committing relatively minor offenses can also be placed into deportation proceedings in the courts.

It is believed that critics have welcomed the new rules, along with Democratic lawmakers. However, according to AP Republicans are far from happy at the announcement.

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