(CNSNews.com) – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has released "several hundred" illegal aliens from detention centers across the country citing concern over the "possible sequestration" of some federal spending that, under the Budget Control Act that President Obama signed in 2011, could take effect this Friday.
"As fiscal uncertainty remains over the continuing resolution and possible sequestration, ICE has reviewed its detained population to ensure detention levels stay within ICE’s current budget,” ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said in a statement released on Tuesday. “Over the last week, ICE has reviewed several hundred cases and placed these individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention.” (See email from Gillian Christensen, ICE Statement.pdf)
“All of these individuals remain in removal proceedings,” Christensen said. “Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety.”
“We’re getting reports from multiple detention centers in Texas, Florida and New Orleans where detainees who are low priority are being released in mass without bond,” Domenic Powell, a spokesman for the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, an immigration advocacy group, was quoted as saying in a McClatchy Newspapers report on Monday.
On Monday, during a press briefing at the White House, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the sequester is a threat to national security.
“Threats from terrorism and the need to respond and recover from natural disasters do not diminish because of budget cuts," Napolitano said. "Even in the current fiscal climate, we do not have the luxury of making significant reductions to our capabilities without significant impacts."