Napolitano: New deportation rules not 'free pass'

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says new rules allowing many illegal immigrants who were facing deportation despite having no criminal record to stay and apply for a work permit won't be a "free pass" to citizenship.

Napolitano told reporters on Monday night that the rules she announced last week to focus on deporting illegal immigrants who are criminals or pose a threat are already being implemented.

Napolitano said the rules are "common sense" and aimed at giving more clarity to deportation policy.

Napolitano announced the plan in a letter to a group of senators last week. The change has faced criticism from some Republicans who have said it amounts to amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Napolitano spoke in Little Rock as part of the Frank and Kula Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture series.

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