Critics have decried Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) recent release of over 2,000 undocumented immigrants from jails in recent weeks due to budget cuts. Now, DHS plans to release 3,000 more individuals in March which has caused even more concern as the numbers are much higher than the “few hundred” immigrants initially said to be released by the Obama Administration.
States including Arizona, California, Georgia and Texas are among those who have released immigrants in the past few months and documents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement show that about 1,000 undocumented immigrants have been released from jails each week since Feb. 15th. The White House commented that they have not been consulted about the releases; however, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said the manner in which the releases have occurred are regrettable. Jay Carney, White House spokesman, said the immigrants released were all “low-risk, non criminal detainees” and the decisions was made by ICE officials.
Immigrants released from jails still face deportation and are required to appear at court hearings. They are no longer confined in jails, where advocacy experts say the cost per person is about $164 a day. “We’re doing our very best to minimize the impacts of sequester, but there’s only so much I can do,” Napolitano said Monday. “You know, I’m supposed to have 34,000 detention beds for immigration. How do I pay for those?”
Intense criticism over the administration came when Janet Napolitano did not know of the action of releasing more immigrants. She addressed the criticism by saying the releases were being handled by career officials in the field and she was not aware of it. “Simply blaming budget reductions as a means to turn a blind eye toward the national security of the American people is a dangerous plan, and one that calls into question the department’s preparations for sequestration,” wrote two Republican lawmakers, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
We have not heard of any mass releases in Missouri generally or specifically in the St. Louis area. We will keep you updated as to further developments.
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