In a very covert fashion the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) quietly announced that in order to cut costs, it had released undocumented immigrants it was holding in detention.
Initially, the Obama administration had insisted only a “few hundred” immigrants were released for budgetary reasons in February with reported plans to release more than 3,000 others this month. Under scrutiny ICE admitted that they had released 2,800 individuals. Following intense criticism from border state governors and conservative congressmen as well as public outcry the department opted for a temporary shutdown of the plan.
Governor Jan Brewer from Arizona, sent a memo last week repeating her request for the Obama administration to release information pertaining to the release of these individuals which reads, in part:
Among those released, according to Director Morton, were at least 10 individuals classified among the highest-risk offenders. Others released included repeat drunken-driving offenders who, in addition to being in our country illegally, have exhibited behavior that places at-risk every Arizonan innocently sharing our roadways.
Yesterday’s ICE testimony directly contradicts repeated assurances and explanations peddled by the Obama administration in the days after the mass release of illegal aliens became public knowledge. The American people were initially told there were hundreds, not thousands, of individuals released. We were assured they were low-level detainees of little public risk. As we now know, neither of these claims was accurate.
Today Director Morton was called before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing on Immigration Enforcement to testify regarding his department’s actions. You can read ICE Director Morton’s prepared statement here.
You can watch the entire day’s hearing here. Chairman of the committee, Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) gives a six minute rebuke of ICE and the department.
But you might prefer Representative Trey Gowdy, (R-SC), former state prosecutor (begins at 47 minutes) as he spends his five minutes grilling the director with questions demonstrating his strong experience in court.
You can watch a few minutes of Gowdy’s Exchange below:
All this leads to the question: Were these released individuals really ‘the worst of the worst’ as stated numerous times by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano or are they just a bunch of guys who happened to be imprisoned by ICE and used as political pawns?