Friday, March 1, 2013
Did Immigration and Customs Enforcement release many more detained immigrants facing deportation than the agency originally let on?
The Associated Press pored through internal documents to learn, ICE released 2,000 immigrants “due to looming budget cuts, and planned to release 3,000 more during March.”
According to the AP’s analysis,
The government documents show that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement released roughly 1,000 illegal immigrants from its jails around the U.S. each week since at least Feb. 15. The agency's field offices have reported more than 2,000 immigrants released before intense criticism this week led to a temporary shutdown of the plan, according to the documents.
Meanwhile, ICE is standing by its original statement that “several hundred” detainees were transferred to more cost-effective forms of supervision in anticipation of budget cuts.
“ICE detention populations ebb and flow on a daily basis with many individuals both coming into, and leaving ICE custody,” read a statement released by the agency Friday.
Immigrants leave detention facilities when they make bond, prevail in immigration court or are deported. In some cases, officials decide to release a detainee administratively. The detained population can also fall if ICE decides to place fewer immigrants in custody to begin with.
ICE’s statement did not directly address one of the more intriguing facts AP dug up — a supposed target number the Obama administration hoped to decrease the detained immigrant population by.
As of last week, the agency held an average daily population of 30,733 in its jails. The internal budget documents reviewed by AP show the Obama administration had intended to reduce those figures to 25,748 by March 31.