Napolitano defends approach to immigration in address on state of homeland security

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Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano criticized Congress and defended the Obama administration's actions on immigration, such as the use of prosecutorial discretion, on Jan. 30 in her annual address on the state of U.S. homeland security.

The Homeland Security Department has prioritized the prosecution of illegal immigrants who have committed crimes other than just being in the United States illegally. Napolitano said that DHS has reduced bureaucratic inefficiency in visa programs, though she did not go into detail, and added that DHS will shorten the time spouses and children must wait abroad to join family members who have immigrated.

"We can, we have, and we will seek to enforce the law in a way that best meets our needs and our ideals," the secretary asserted.

In the speech, Napolitano also touted DHS's efforts to transition to a more risk-based approach to security, which she said will be a focus for the department in 2012. She said Global Entry and PreCheck, programs that expedite security checks for international and domestic travelers, respectively, will expand in 2012.

She added that companies that undergo vetting and meet certain security criteria will get expedited cargo processing.

A primary theme of the address was that security can, in fact, enhance commerce. Napolitano noted several times that when individuals and companies volunteer more information or show that their own commitments to security, the government can make security processes more efficient for them.

For more:
- read Napolitano's speech

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