The Obama administration told immigration officials to release over 5,000 jailed illegal immigrants, some of whom had been accused of terror threats, drunk driving, drug and gun possession, and sexual assault, according to the Washington Examiner.
The Immigration Reform Law Institute made the findings after a Freedom of Information Act request, the Examiner reports.
The administration was forced to cut spending in 2013 under the congressional sequester at that time. Pressure to move quickly resulted in some criminals being released, in an attempt to cut $84 million from the budget.
Federation for American Immigration Reform spokesman Dave Ray said that it appears that "political theater" led to criminals being released. "These emails make it crystal clear that the administration was more concerned with the political optics of its immigration enforcement efforts than with its duty to keep American safe from criminal and illegal aliens."
The emails show that a reduction of 5,432 illegals was ordered. In the emails, officials called the immigrants "bodies."
Contents of the emails had large parts redacted, according to the Examiner. One official called the forced reductions, "BS." A top official in the emails said that releasing criminals was not a cause for worry. "Stay calm. You have not done anything wrong," the official wrote.
In another email, an official wrote, "We must decrease our population by COB (close of business) today. Let's do this now."
In 2014, The Washington Post reported that immigration officials released more than 600 undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions.
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