• AZ Gov. Brewer on freed illegal immigrant detainees: 'It could be payback'

    Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

    Gov. Jan Brewer is demanding more information about the release of immigration detainees after an Associated Press report said that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released more than 2,000 people facing deportation in recent weeks due to looming budget cuts and that it planned to release 3,000 more during March.

    The newly disclosed figures, cited in internal budget documents reviewed by the AP, are significantly higher than the “few hundred” illegal immigrants, some from Arizona, that the Obama administration acknowledged this week had been released under the budget-savings process.

    Sat Mar 2, 2013 1:08 AM
    By Lindsey Collom and Daniel González
    The Republic | azcentral.com

    The government documents show that Immigration and Customs Enforcement released roughly 1,000 illegal immigrants from detention facilities around the U.S. each week since at least Feb. 15.

    The agency’s field offices have reported more than 2,000 immigrants released before intense criticism this week led to a temporary shutdown of the plan, according to the documents.

    Other states that saw immigrants released include California, Georgia and Texas. The AP did not provide a breakdown of the number released in each state.

    ICE officials previously have said 303 detainees were released from four facilities in Pinal County, three in Florence and one in Eloy.

    Brewer’s spokesman, Matthew Benson, said Friday that he would not be surprised if more detainees had been released in Arizona due to anticipated budget cuts than had previously been acknowledged by ICE.

    He said Brewer intends to write the Obama administration asking for information about the number and criminal backgrounds of those released.

    “The governor wants to know how many individuals have been released, what their profile is in terms of why they were detained in the first place and some kind of explanation for why this occurred because we have heard different rationale,” Benson said.

    “This kind of mass release of individuals should not happen, especially without any kind of notification to law enforcement and elected officials in the home state.”

    Brewer told Fox News on Friday that she thought the release of immigration detainees in Arizona may have been retribution by the Obama administration for taking a tough stance on border security and illegal immigration and for passing SB 1070, the state’s immigration-enforcement law.

    “It could be payback ... to punish Arizona,” Brewer said. “They are pushing back ... because we want our borders secured.”

    The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office released data Friday showing that 78 immigration detainees being held at the Pinal County jail, which contracts with ICE to house detainees, were released between Feb. 22 and Monday.

    That is more than the 52 detainees ICE officials originally said were released from the Pinal County jail in anticipation of the sequester.

    ICE officials accounted for the difference this way:

    They lowered by one — to 51 — the number of detainees who were released as part of the budget move. Of the remaining 27, they said, 17 were deported, six posted bond and four were transferred to the Florence Detention Center.

    Officials also reiterated that no detainees with serious criminal histories subject to mandatory detention have been released as part of the budget move.

    The Ssheriff’s Office also released data showing that seven of the 78 detainees who were released from the jail between Feb. 22 and Monday, had “high” security classifications and 15 had “medium high” security classifications.

    An additional 10 had “medium low” security classifications and 46 had “low” security classifications. It is unclear who among each classification was deported or transferred as opposed to released.

    Tim Gaffney, a spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, could not define what the security classifications mean. He said they are assigned to detainees by ICE before they arrive at the jail.

    ICE officials did not respond to requests to provide definitions of the security classifications.

    Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu already has sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asking for the identity, criminal history and threat assessment for all the immigration detainees released by ICE as part of the cost saving move.

    The White House has said it was not consulted about the releases, and Napolitano has acknowledged they occurred in a manner she regrets.

    White House spokesman Jay Carney on Wednesday said the government had released “a few hundred” of the roughly 30,000 illegal immigrants held in federal detention pending deportation proceedings. Carney said that the immigrants released were “low-risk, noncriminal detainees” and that the decision was made by career ICE officials.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Immigration detainees' release causes outrage in Arizona started by JohnDoe2 View original post