The Department of Homeland Security’s immigration enforcement division was ordered last week to reduce their illegal immigrant detainee populations to 26 percent below the legally required level, according to a research organization that monitors immigration issues.
That reduction is significantly greater than those required by the impending budget cuts the department has cited for the release of the detainees.
The announcement of detainee releases on Tuesday set off a firestorm on Capitol Hill. The White House has tried to distance itself from the decision, which was closely followed by the public announcement of the departure of DHS’s top immigration enforcement and deportation official.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division cited impending “sequestration” budget cuts in its decision to release illegal immigrant detainees across the country.
“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 spokesperson Gillian Christensen said in a news release.