PHOENIX -- Secretary Janet Napolitano will continue to lead the Department of Homeland Security into President Barack Obama's second term, according to an agency official.
That means Napolitano is likely to play a central role should Congress take on immigration reform.
Napolitano left her post as governor of Arizona four years ago to join Obama's cabinet.
DHS houses several diverse agencies. Among them are Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Customs and Border Protection, which deal with immigration and border issues.
Under Napolitano's watch, deportations ramped up to record levels, which topped 400,000 last year.
"Secretary Napolitano has done an exemplary job of enforcing immigration law," said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the Washington-based National Immigration Forum, which favors a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. "Some would argue, as we have at times, too good of a job."
That record, Noorani says, means Napolitano can help make the case for comprehensive immigration reform.
"She is in a position to articulate to Congress, how enforcement has been incredibly effective, but more importantly, how the immigration system needs to be fixed."
In her post at DHS, Napolitano has faced criticism from both sides of the immigration debate.
Her agency oversaw the initiative that gave work permits and a reprieve from deportation to young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children.
Advocates who favor stricter immigration enforcement criticized the initiative as a run around Congress.