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US makes criminals priority for deportation
US shift on deportation priority eases risk for those immigrants not convicted of crimes
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' The Obama administration has decided to put on hold deporting many immigrants who have committed no crimes.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the department will focus on deporting illegal immigrants who are criminals or pose a threat to national security or public safety. The decision will allow many illegal immigrants to stay in the country and apply for a work permit.

Napolitano announced the plan Thursday in a letter to a group of senators who support revamping immigration. The plan means about 300,000 deportation cases pending in federal immigration court will now be reviewed case by case.

The change comes after months of criticism from immigrants, advocates and lawmakers that President Barack Obama has neglected a campaign promise to overhaul immigration and focus enforcement on serious criminals.

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