University of California President Janet Napolitano said she has been unfairly criticized for the number of immigration deportations that took place while she was secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Napolitano said Sunday that critics have not looked at the "whole picture" regarding the numbers of deported immigrants under the Obama administration.
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"A lot of the people were captured at the border and had not yet entered the United States," she said Sunday, "but because of the way we handled them differently than prior administrations they were counted differently."
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Napolitano also said that under her leadership she had "prioritized" certain individuals for deportation and that the department had instituted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, allowing children of undocumented immigrants the right to stay and work in the U.S.
The UC president has been strongly criticized by some student groups for overseeing an estimated 1.7 million undocumented immigrants during her tenure at DHS.
Napolitano, the 20th president of the University of California, made the comments during an interview with NBC4 that was broadcast Sunday, May 4, 2014.
On other issues, Napolitano said she was "disappointed" with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld a Michigan law banning the use of "race" in college admissions. However, she refused to endorse a recently tabled effort in the California Legislature that would have allowed Affirmative Action to be used in considering admission to the university.
The UC President said that there were other ways to achieve a diverse student body, but admitted she was troubled with the relatively low percentage of African Americans who have been admitted to the system.
"I don't know...sitting here after six months why that is or what has contributed to that but I think it needs further examination," Napolitano said.
The UC system is in sound fiscal health, Napolitano said, but she is concerned about funding in future budgets. Asked if her selection as UC president was proof the university needed a politician to navigate Washington and Sacramento, Napolitano suggested the academic mission was the responsibility of the leaders of each of the 10 campuses of the UC system.
"What I bring is experience in running large complex organizations in a public environment, bringing them together and creating a sense of what our mission is," Napolitano said.