In response to widespread criticism from immigrant advocates, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced steps Tuesday to improve conditions of detainees and allow them easier access to attorneys.
But Napolitano stood firm on the Obama administration's efforts to continue strict enforcement of the nation's immigration laws.
"We accept that we are going to continue to have and increase, potentially, the number of detainees," Napolitano said.
But in her mixed message of humane treatment and tough enforcement, Napolitano made it clear she intends to reform detention operations from what she described as a patchwork of privately-run and government-run facilities with different standards in different locations.
Cheryl Little, executive director of Miami-based Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, welcomed Napolitano's initiatives but urged Homeland Security officials to move more rapidly in reforming the system and freeing immigrants, especially those seeking asylum or with serious illnesses.
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