Illegal immigrants by the hundreds have been released from local jails in anticipation of automatic budget cuts brought on by sequestration. The sequester will cut 2 percent of the projected spending increase from the budget. Some county sheriffs have called the release of illegal aliens “dangerous” and “politically motivated.”
An Arizona sheriff in Pinal County told Fox News that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released more than 500 detained illegal immigrants in his county over the past weekend. A spokesperson for Sheriff Paul Babeu also maintained that ICE officials informed law enforcement agencies that nearly 10,000 illegal aliens will ultimately be set free. Although ICE officials have confirmed the release of illegal aliens, a specific number has not yet been verified.
Sheriff Babeu had this to say about ICE releasing illegal immigrants from county jails:
“President Obama would never release 500 criminal illegals to the streets of his hometown, yet he has no problem with releasing them in Arizona. The safety of the public is threatened and the rule of law discarded as a political tactic in this sequester battle.”
ICE officials will allegedly keep the released illegal immigrants under supervision and will continue with plans to prosecute the pending cases. The “less costly” methods of detention are more in line with “available funding” according to a statement by the agency.
On Monday Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stated that the agency would not be able to continue to maintain the 34,000 detention beds required by Congress. Napolitano also added that she is doing her best to “minimize the impacts of sequester.” The tent city jail in Maricopa County, Arizona turns 20 years old this summer, according to AZ Central. Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s tent city operates on a shoe-string budget.
Would Arpaio’s penny-pinching approach to incarceration offer a viable alternative for ICE if sequestration leaves the agency cash-strapped?
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