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Feds Release Hundreds of Immigrants Ahead of Budget Cuts

Immigrants will be monitored, still face deportation


Immigration and Customs Enforcement aren’t waiting until Friday to see how the sequester shakes out. In preparation for those possible budget cuts, they have released several hundred immigrants from deportation centers in order to cut costs.

Officials stated the only immigrants released were low-risk and “noncriminal.” They will remain under supervision, and continue to face deportation. Electronic and telephone monitoring will be used to keep track of them.

The move has pundits on both sides of the immigration reform debate either cheering or decrying the move. Immigration reform supporters welcomed the release, saying too many immigrants had been imprisoned and deported under President Barack Obama’s administration. Some Republicans criticized the move as a political ploy to drum up support for avoiding sequestration, and that it also put the public in danger.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano hinted at this move yesterday, when she said ICE would not be able to keep up its inventory of detention beds under a 5% budget cut.

“Look, we’re doing our very best to minimize the impacts of sequester.  But there’s only so much I can do. I’m supposed to have 34,000 detention beds for immigration.  How do I pay for those?  We want to maintain 22,000-some odd Border Patrol agents. I got to be able to pay their salaries.”

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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