Backlash Erupts Over Release of Immigrant Detainees

Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013 11:34 AM

By Kenneth Hanner

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Republican lawmakers in both houses of Congress are pressuring the Obama administration to explain its decision to release immigrants awaiting deportation, The Washington Times reported Tuesday.

Sen. Daniel Coats of Indiana went to the Senate floor on Monday and claimed the policy could be a magnet for new immigrants to come illegally into the United States.

“I can see the traffickers pitching this to tens or hundreds of thousands of people, taking their money, getting them across the border, breaching the fence or tunneling under the fence or climbing over the fence,” Coats said.

The Department of Homeland Security enacted the policy earlier this month when a budget sequester required across-the-board spending cuts in every federal agency.

Last week, a group of 37 House Republicans questioned that policy in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

“It is frankly irresponsible that your agency chose releasing detained immigrants as its first effort to control spending,” the letter said.

The Times reported that an internal memo from Immigration and Customs Enforcement contemplated releasing 1,000 immigrants a week, more than the announced figure of several hundred.

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