In an interview with All Things Considered's Audie Cornish, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the administration's decision to defer the deportation of some young illegal immigrants is a part of a "strong enforcement" of immigration laws.
She said that this administration has stymied illegal border crossings and stepped up deportations of criminals.
"Strong enforcement also embodies looking at different categories differently when the facts justify that we do so," Napolitano said.
President Obama's announcement Friday that he is using his executive authority to defer deportation proceedings for young immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally but meet certain requirements was just the latest example of the president's use of his power to act without Congress on policy issues.
The Obama administration is announcing a major change in immigration policy this morning. It affects people who are brought to the U.S. as children illegally. Beginning immediately, these young people can avoid deportation and will be allowed to work in this country. The move could affect as many as 800,000 undocumented residents 30 years old or younger.
Joining us now to talk about the move is NPR's Scott Horsley. He's at the White House. And Scott, who exactly is affected?