U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement broke U.S. laws in 2013 by releasing 622 convicted criminal illegal immigrants into the country.
An internal audit by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, requested by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., blasted ICE
, noting, "March 13, 2013, ICE told Congress it released 2,228 aliens, 629 of whom had criminal convictions. On April 8, 2013, ICE revised the number to 2,226 aliens, 622 of whom had criminal convictions. In June 2013, ICE provided U.S. alien registration numbers for 2,211 released aliens, 617 of whom had criminal convictions. Of the 2,211 aliens, ICE included 5 not released in the Feb. 9 to March 1, 2013, timeframe."
The report stated, "Between Feb. 9 and March 1, 2013, Enforcement and Removal Operations field offices released some aliens with criminal convictions whose detention was statutorily required."
While most of the group were convicted of only minor offenses, Fox News
reported that dozens had "level 1" and "level 2" convictions, meaning murder, rape, robbery, and drug crimes in the first category and financial crimes, like fraud and money laundering, in the second.
In a statement, Coburn
said, "It is baffling how an agency charged with homeland security and immigration enforcement would knowingly release hundreds of illegals with criminal histories. In this single action, ICE undermined its own credibility, the rule of law, and the safety of Americans and local law enforcement
"This report provides more evidence that our nation’s immigration laws are being flagrantly disregarded. Americans need to be assured the problems within ICE that led to the dangerous release of illegal aliens will be fixed, and DHS and ICE will never again violate the law by releasing known criminals into our streets."
McCain added, "This report confirms the Obama administration’s lack of coherent leadership on immigration policy. The safety of our border communities shouldn’t be put at risk because ICE officials decide to release detainees, many with criminal records, in order to solve their budget problems without waiting to see if they could obtain more funding."
The releases, part of 2,200 detainees ICE released in early 2013 in advance of the budget "sequester" funding cuts, with 1,500 in a single weekend, were criticized by the IG as being caused by poor management and planning at ICE senior levels, the Washington Times
reported, in an attempt to free up space in detention facilities. Dozens of the illegal aliens had to be re-detained.
ICE is required to have beds to house 34,000 illegals, but has funding for 31,000, while the Obama administration wants fewer beds, about 30,500, despite the recent surge in illegals crossing the border this year.
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