Sen. John McCain of Arizona on Friday asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for specifics on the recent release of illegal immigrants from local jails to save money because of the broad government budget cuts that took effect last week.
“Who within the ICE chain of command has the authority to decide to release a particular criminal alien and what is the written policy limiting the officer’s discretion?” McCain asked in his letter to Napolitano, The Hill reports.
McCain, a senior GOP member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, was referring to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.
“What plans are in place to ensure illegal aliens are being detained and we do not return to the days of border patrol ‘catch and release'?”
Last month, Napolitano and others within the Obama White House came under fire for the release of hundreds of illegals, many of whom were placed on supervised release in Arizona.
The move brought harsh criticism from McCain and other Arizona officials.
Napolitano has said that department managers made the decision to release the illegals — and has since promised to release more, saying the $85 billion in budget cuts that took place March 1 under the sequester had left her no choice.
Internal Homeland Security documents quoted in news reports indicated that 2,000 illegals had already been released by the time of the sequester — and officials planned to let go 3,000 more.
Homeland Security officials had said that only “several hundred” illegals had been released, The Hill reports.
Napolitano is expected to testify on Capitol Hill next week on the nation’s cybersecurity and will likely be asked about the release of the illegals, The Hill reports.
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