Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano responded on Tuesday to allegations that the agency targeted an undocumented immigrant's family as retribution for her activism.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detained the mother and brother of Erika Andiola, who is active in the immigrant rights movement and the founder of activism group DRM Capitol, on Jan. 10. The mother, Maria Arreola, and brother, Heriberto Andiola Arreola, were quickly released from custody after an outcry from advocacy groups.

Napolitano told Phoenix NBC affiliate KPNX that Maria Arreola was taken in because of a previous deportation in 1998 and traffic arrest last year. Maria Arreola was therefore considered a priority case, she said.