Napolitano Says DHS Will Continue to Decide Which Illegals to Detain, Deport Despite SCOTUS Decision

June 25, 2012 - 4:36 PM

Janet Napolitano

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano spoke about her agency's role in fighting terrorist threats abroad on Jan. 17, 2012 at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday that her agency will remain focused on prioritizing the removal of certain aliens despite the Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law.

Napolitano added that the Supreme Court decision will not interfere with the Obama administration’s newly employed policy not to deport certain young illegals.

"I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that state laws cannot dictate the federal government’s immigration enforcement policies or priorities. DHS remains focused on enhancing public safety and the integrity of our border by prioritizing enforcement resources on those who are in the country unlawfully and committing crimes, those who have repeatedly violated our immigration laws, and those who recently crossed our borders illegally,” she said in a statement released after the court ruling.

“The Court’s decision not to strike down Section 2 at this time will make DHS’ work more challenging. Accordingly, DHS will implement operational enhancements to its programs in Arizona to ensure that the agency can remain focused on its priorities,” she said.

Hours after the Supreme Court ruled, the Obama administration revealed one of its "operational enhancements" -- canceling its 287(g) immigration-enforcement partnership with Arizona law enforcement. The Homeland Security Department describes the 287(g) program as a "force multiplier," which allows trained officers from local jurisdictions to carry out "smart, effective immigration enforcement efforts aligned with ICE priorities."

As CNSNews.com reported, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said President Obama, in canceling the 287(g) program, "demonstrated anew his utter disregard for the safety and security of the Arizona people."

But earlier on Monday, Napolitano touted the Obama administration's efforts to secure the southwestern border: “Over the past three and half years, this Administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to secure the border and to enforcing our nation’s immigration laws in a firm and reasonable fashion,” Napolitano said.

“We continue to urge Congress to pass comprehensive reform because nothing short of a comprehensive solution will resolve the current patchwork of immigration laws. Finally, it is important to note that today’s Supreme Court decision will not impact the memorandum I issued on June 15th related to prosecutorial discretion eligibility for productive members of society who were brought to the United States as children."

 

The decision by the highest court in the country will not impact President Obama’s decision to limit which illegals it deports and which it will allow to stay in the country, the administration officials told the Times.

“We will not be issuing detainers on individuals unless they clearly meet our defined priorities,” an official said.

“We do not plan on putting additional staff on the ground in Arizona,” added the official.

Attorney General Eric Holder said he remains concerned that Arizona police will engage in racial profiling while enforcing section 2B of SB 1070. Section 2B requires police to verify the immigration status of any person lawfully stopped on suspicion of illegal activity, other than being in the country illegally:

"As the Court itself recognized, Section 2 is not a license to engage in racial profiling and I want to assure communities around this country that the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously enforce federal prohibitions against racial and ethnic discrimination," Holder said.

"We will closely monitor the impact of S.B. 1070 to ensure compliance with federal immigration law and with applicable civil rights laws, including ensuring that law enforcement agencies and others do not implement the law in a manner that has the purpose or effect of discriminating against the Latino or any other community.

"We will also work to ensure that the verification provision does not divert police officers away from traditional law enforcement efforts in order to enforce federal immigration law, potentially impairing local policing efforts and discouraging crime victims, including children of non-citizens, victims of domestic violence, and asylum seekers, from reporting abuses and crimes out of fear of detention or deportation," Holder said.

Last week, Obama decided to end the removal of most illegals under the age of 30 who were brought into the country as children.