Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says she plans to target what she calls “criminal aliens” for deportation, reports the Associated Press. “That sounds very simple, but it’s historically not been done,” Napolitano said Thursday. About 113,000 criminals who were in the U.S. illegally were deported last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said. The agency estimates there are now as many as 450,000 criminals in federal, state and local detention centers who are in the country illegally.
Napolitano said she wants to improve data-sharing among local, state and federal facilities. So far, there are jails in 26 counties across the country with computer systems that can talk instantly with immigration systems. She said the goal is for federal immigration officials to know whether an inmate is in the country illegally immediately after he is processed into a detention facility. After the criminal serves his or her sentence, immigration officials can be ready to deport that person right away. ICE spokesman Richard Rocha said the agency plans to expand this connectivity to all state and local detention centers over the next four years.