U.S. moves immigrant detainees as budget cuts loom
February 26th, 2013
02:02 PM ET
1 year ago

U.S. moves immigrant detainees as budget cuts loom

Washington (CNN) - The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is releasing "several hundred" people out of detention facilities to other "less costly" forms of supervision because of pending forced budget cuts, the agency said on Tuesday.

Gillian Christensen, a customs enforcement spokeswoman, said the cases were reviewed over the past week as part of agency preparations for $85 billion government-wide cuts due to take effect on Friday absent congressional action to avert them.

"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," she said in a statement.

"ICE has reviewed several hundred cases and placed these individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention. All of these individuals remain in removal proceedings. Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety," she said.

That move prompted an incredulous reaction from House Speaker John Boehner, who said on CBS the release of detainees was “outrageous.”

"This is very hard for me to believe, that they can't find cuts elsewhere in their agency,” Boehner said, adding: “I'm looking for more facts but I can't believe that they can't find the kind of savings they need out of that department short of letting criminals go free."

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican and a vocal critic of President Barack Obama, called the move "pure political posturing and the height of absurdity."

Republican leaders have criticized Obama administration warnings as scare tactics, but also said the cuts would be bad policy and should be changed. Only rigid fiscal conservatives have backed the concept of mandatory deep spending cuts as a painful first step of deficit reduction.

Obama said on Tuesday in Newport News, Virginia, that the spending cuts are a "self-inflicted wound" that do not have to occur. He called on Congress to reach an agreement to avert the harshest impacts.

Separately on Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder warned the spending cuts, also called sequestration, would leave Americans "less safe."

"We'll do the best that we can to minimize the harm that actually occurs as a result of the sequestration, but the reality is there is going to be harm," Holder told the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington.

Holder had barely finished his remarks when the leading Republican on the committee that oversees the Justice Department sent Holder a sharply critical letter about the agency's plans.

Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, cited a recent Holder letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee outlining operational cuts in spending for the FBI and other agencies totaling about $1.6 billion.

CNN's Kevin Liptak, Terry Frieden and Carol Cratty contributed to this report.


Filed under: Budget • Deficit • Immigration
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Moose

    Way to lead bamman !!!!!!!! NOT

    February 26, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    What else would you expect from the incompetence gop garbage and Cruz the peewee Herman lookalike!!! So much for taking care of your own state . Take a hint and leave the USA ,self deport you gop slob .

    February 26, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. USA Under Attack

    This is treasonous and egregious conduct by the obama administration. Immediate impeachment proceedings should begin...or did he not know about this either? Seems to be the usual excuse!

    February 26, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. critical thinking

    Release? I thought Obama told them not to arrest them.

    February 26, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. Linc

    Just more shenanigans from the Thug and Chief.

    February 26, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. Clueless Prez

    The sequester hasn't even happened yet, that's, just something they were going to do anyway.

    February 26, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. RichSC

    I am so tired of this President playing politcs with everything, and not governing. What President (or any worthwile leader) would ever have released prisinors just for political reasons. There is no way that a 2% cut (after a 23% increase in funding over the last 3 years) is so drastic. He nebver has been, nor never will be a true President, who wants what good for the counrty (not him) and is willing to govern instaead of playing politcs. What a disappointment he has been!!!

    February 26, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  8. Donna

    What next? WIll Obama open up all of the federal prison doors and let everybody walk? Will he send all the military and fedral law enforcement on leave?

    This is quickly turning from an Obama Sequester into an Obama Tantrum. It seems he is willing to really get people hurt to try and prove that cutting a few pennies from the federal budget will mean Armegeddon.

    I knew this guy was dnagerous but now he is proving to the country how dangerous he is.

    February 26, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. Name lynn

    Cuts cuts cuts, whats next.

    February 26, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Fair is Fair

    Of all the fat he could cut out of the government, he chooses this? Pathetic.

    February 26, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. Rob

    putting the safety of America in jeopardy for his political aspirations, Obama is evil

    February 26, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. Don

    You wanted the Cuts you got them. So now you're complaining how they are being used? There the Cuts you've all been saying let happen. You don't get to pick and choose.

    February 26, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Walker

    Time for some hearings.

    February 26, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Scott

    jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    What else would you expect from the incompetence gop garbage and Cruz the peewee Herman lookalike!!! So much for taking care of your own state . Take a hint and leave the USA ,self deport you gop slob .
    ________________________________________________________
    Never have i seen such per hate that you have. Perhaps it is time for garbage like you to self deport back to where ever you came from.

    February 27, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  15. stambo

    If any of these people kill anyone it will be on the head of Obama and his supporters.

    February 27, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  16. Wilson

    There are so many cuts that can be made that the average person will not even notice. Obama is choosing cuts to instill fear in the populace, to further his agenda. The "Great Media Controller," is now also the "Great Fearmonger." History will show Obama to be one of the worst presidents in history. Unless, of course, he gets his way in all things and he writes history himself.
    $

    February 27, 2013 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  17. robert warner

    The posts here demonstrate the new conservative mentality- they want something for nothing. They want to let draconian budget cuts take place but they also want the government to continue functioning as before the cuts. Newsflash for GOP; if you don't pay for government services and protections, you don't get them. Obama has the solution to the problem, a solution that the American public has repeatedly endorsed, that the GOP MUST agree to; a balance of cuts and tax increases. They must do this for the good of the country AND their own party. If they continue on their present path, their party will be destroyed.

    February 27, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  18. Randy

    This is cazy! ICE needs to enforce the laws. And CNN in the article makes it sound like ICE budget is being cut by 85 billion. Stop the scare tactics. Why not cut back on travel, cut the arts, PBS and no pay raises. Cut the non essentials. And remember these cuts were Obama and his cronies idea. Do not blame the GOP. Blame both parties, and the President!

    February 27, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  19. Willie12345

    The hate and anger towards Obama only continues to swell and grow.

    February 27, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  20. Steve- Illinois

    This is so phony. Release them before the cuts even become mandatory. These cuts don't mean you have no money tomorrow. Maybe they should furlough all border patrol agents for 22 days straight, but be sure to widely publicise the dates, months ahead of time, throughout Mexico, and South America.
    Anyone who believes this action is necessary because of sequestration, is a fool!

    February 27, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  21. Just a thought

    USA Under Attack,,,,said,

    This is treasonous and egregious conduct by the obama administration. Immediate impeachment proceedings should begin...or did he not know about this either? Seems to be the usual excuse

    ----
    The GOP/Tea folks need not wonder why they are about to get booted out of Washington.....As you see many of their supporters are a few sandwiches short of a full picnic basket or totally home schooled. Pathetic...and these are the same people that call themselves strict constitutionalist. These knuckle draggin, mouth breathing haters of the president don't realize that Congress spends the money.

    I can't wait until the GOP get's voted out in 2014 and we don't have to hear from them and their supporters return to that planet outside the milky way....cause we don't need such stupidity in this country

    February 27, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  22. G_Edwards

    Of course....that makes the news and is in line with the Obama Administration fearmongering.

    Why not cut research on why the male salmon is attracted to the female salmon? Or cut more in the Dept of Education? How many people have they actually educated?

    .

    February 27, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote page 1:
    "Of all the fat he could cut out of the government, he chooses this? Pathetic."
    ----------------------------
    Obviously, you do not understand the simple fact that where the cuts were made as never chosen. Budgets across the board have been cut by a prescribed percentage. The whole natoin has been waiting on the House to pass legislation that "chooses" where to make the cuts, instead of the blindfolded budget axe that is the sequestration. Unfortunately, neither side wants to be the first one get specific on spending cuts.

    robert warner wrote on page 1;
    "The posts here demonstrate the new conservative mentality- they want something for nothing. They want to let draconian budget cuts take place but they also want the government to continue functioning as before the cuts."
    --------------------–
    They don't want government to continue as it were. They want want more government than ever before. They want a 2000 mile high technology fence built across our southern border, complete with more people to patrol it. They want armed guards in every public school in America, with SWAT teams on regional standby. They want all of that and more, more, more tax cuts.

    February 27, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  24. Michael wagner

    You people elected him-now u want 2 complain?!zip it!

    February 27, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  25. ironman59

    The mandated cuts coming were approved by a committee that had equal gop representation. They had a chance to come up with a solution and failed. Then in the House the gop had the opportunity to come up with a solution and failed. For those of you like the gop that failed in Civics, budgets must start in and be approved by the House.

    The only thing the gop has put forward has been an increase in military spending and a decrease in everything else in this country (except corporate welfare). No attempts at reform, compromise or all of the other attributes that prior Congresses have done. The gop has been screaming about reducing the defecit and budget so that is what is happening. Now they are screaming that the cuts are happening & it is going across all aspects of government equally. This is what the modern gop has become, nothing but obstructionists and whiners.

    What is silly is all of the uninformed calling for impeachment, hanging, etc of POTUS. If a budget isn't passed there is nothing to sign and the prior legislation approved by the House (sequester) is what happens by law. Go back and actually pay attention in Civics and learn the mechanics of government.

    February 27, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
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