U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials told Congress Thursday they sent out agents to re-arrest four of the most violent, dangerous illegal immigrants released last month due to sequestration cuts.
The agency’s director, John Morton, testified that ICE released 10 “Level I” offenders. Four of them were brought back in, and the remaining six were considered “nonviolent,” the Washington Times reported.
According to the Times, Morton said the agency released a total of 2,228 immigrants. “Of those, 629 had criminal records, though Mr. Morton said they were low-level offenders,” the article said.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer slammed the Obama administration after learning the numbers, the Times said:
Today’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.
Republican lawmakers were highly critical of the decision to release illegal immigrants, and several demanded answers from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
“Why was the secretary of Homeland Security not aware of the release of convicted criminals by her own agency? Why did she tell us it was only hundreds who were released when we now learn it was thousands?” Texas Sen. John Cornyn asked, the paper said. “This is evidence of serious mismanagement at DHS under Secretary Napolitano.”
According to the article, Morton told Congress ICE’s decision to release immigrants was partly due to budget cuts and partly to “slow down its pace” of detaining illegal immigrants to stay within the yearly budget. “ICE is funded to detain an average of 34,000 immigrants at any one time but had been detaining up to 36,000 in the early months of the fiscal year,” the Times said.