UPDATE: According to the AP, a Homeland Security Official has now resigned over this:
ASSOCIATED PRESS — The Associated Press has learned that the Homeland Security Department official in charge of the agency’s immigration enforcement and removal operations has resigned after hundreds of illegal immigrants were released from jails because of government spending cuts.
In an email obtained Wednesday by the AP, Gary Mead told coworkers that he was leaving U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the end of April. Mead is the head of enforcement and removal operations at ICE.
Mead had told co-workers of his resignation in the email sent Tuesday, hours after U.S. officials had confirmed that a few hundred illegal immigrants facing deportation had been released from immigration jails due to budget cuts.
President Barack Obama’s spokesman said Wednesday the White House was never consulted but described the immigrants as “low-risk, non-criminal detainees.”
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Obama is once again trying to separate him from a controversial action taken by his administration, saying he didn’t know anything about the release of illegal immigrants from prison. The White House is saying that Bureaucrats at ICE under Janet Napolitano acted without their knowledge, but then they also went on to defend the action saying it was due to budget cuts.
As Rush said, Obama appears to have no control over his own departments. What a leader!
WASHINGTON TIMES – The White House said Wednesday it had nothing to do with the decision by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release immigrants awaiting deportation back into the country in order to save money ahead of the looming budget “sequesters.”
“This was a decision made by career officials at ICE without any input from the White House as a result of fiscal uncertainty over the continuing resolution as well as possible sequestration,” spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
He didn’t say whether the White House agreed with the decision, but seemed to defend it, saying that all of the immigrants released remain subject to deportation and are still being supervised either electronically or by being required to check in regularly.
Mr. Carney said it costs less money to release the immigrants and monitor them than it does to hold them in detention centers, and he said that will help ICE stay within a new lower budget that will result from the automatic across-the-board spending cuts slated to begin Friday morning.
The White House didn’t say why the administration began releasing immigrants before the budget cuts.
On Tuesday ICE, which is an agency within the Homeland Security Department, confirmed it had conducted a review of the immigrants it was holding in its detention centers, and decided there were several hundred who were low-priority risks and could be released.