The Department of Homeland Security has a policy of allowing some illegal aliens to work in the United States, confirmed agency head Janet Napolitano, reports “Prosecutorial discretion” gives the agency leeway, Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

“According to the information from your department, some individuals who are given relief will obtain work authorizations. So people with no right to be in the country will be allowed to work here. Is that correct?” asked Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

Napolitano said a policy allowing illegals to work has been in place since 1986, but did not name the policy. CNS News points out that late President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Simpson-Mazzoli Act that year, which allowed illegal aliens who had entered the United States before Jan. 1, 1982, to request a change of work status. It is unclear whether or not Napolitano was referring to this legislation or how it would apply to current cases.