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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Immigration detainees' release causes outrage in Arizona

    Immigration detainees' release causes outrage in Arizona

    By Cindy Carcamo
    February 28, 2013, 6:00 a.m.

    TUCSON — The release of more than 300 people from immigration detention centers in Arizona — part of a mass release across the nation in anticipation of looming federal budget cuts — sparked outrage among activists on both sides of the political aisle.

    Anti-illegal immigration groups and others accused the Obama administration of playing politics, while an immigrant rights group said the incident showed the administration had detained people they shouldn’t have in the first place.

    John Hill, executive director of the Phoenix-based anti-illegal immigration group Stand With Arizona, said the Department of Homeland Security was using immigration security as a political weapon.

    "The shocking, lawless actions of DHS in releasing thousands of illegal aliens from detention merely to score points on sequestration proves what we have said all along: The DHS is far too politicized to be trusted to implement either the Obama or the 'Gang of 8' immigration reform plans," Hill said in a statement.

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the release of “several hundred” detainees since last Thursday from deportation centers across the nation was in anticipation of spending cuts linked to the so-called budget sequestration, which mandates across-the-board cuts starting Friday unless Congress reaches a compromise.

    "As fiscal uncertainty remains over the continuing resolution and possible sequestration, ICE has reviewed its detained population to ensure detention levels stay within ICE’s current budget,” ICE spokeswoman Amber Cargile said in a statement. “Over the last week, ICE has reviewed several hundred cases and placed these individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention."

    Agency officials emphasized that those freed were on supervised release, with telephonic and electronic monitoring.

    Cargile, based in Phoenix, said all of the released detainees remained in removal proceedings. She said priority for detention remained on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who are believed to pose a significant threat to public safety.

    United We Dream, a youth-led network advocating for the legalization of 11 million people who are in the country illegally, said it took a “manufactured crisis to reunite families.”

    “Every day I get calls from families being torn apart with a loved one about to be deported,” Carolina Canizales, coordinator of United We Dream’s End Our Pain Program, said in a statement. “Low-priority individuals — people who pose absolutely no risk or danger to society, but rather are upstanding members of their communities and families — should not have been locked up to begin with.”

    Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said she was “appalled” by the mass release, adding that it had been done “under the guise of federal budget cuts.”

    Immigration officials said they had released 303 detainees since last Thursday from four Arizona facilities: Florence Detention Center, Eloy Detention Center, Pinal County Jail and Central Arizona Detention Center. An estimated 2,280 immigration detainees remain in custody in those facilities.

    Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu criticized the move, saying it was harming public safety.

    “These are illegals that even President Obama wants to deport,” Babeu said in a statement on the sheriff’s department website. “This is insane that public safety is sacrificed when it should be the budget priority that’s safeguarded.”

    He contended that ICE agents were paid overtime over the weekend to release 500 detainees from Pinal County Jail alone.

    ICE officials contradicted him, saying they had released a total of 52 people from the Pinal County Jail, not 500.

    cindy.carcamo@latimes.com

    Immigration detainees' release causes outrage in Arizona - latimes.com
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    Brewer on freed immigrants: 'It could be payback'

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

    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.

    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.

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/politi...d-arizona.html
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  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    NO AMNESTY

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    Second article above added to Homepage with amended title--

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    ICE is stonewalling a legitimate request

    By Editorial board The Republic | azcentral.com Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:06 PM


    ICE would serve itself and this country much better by releasing the names of all 2,226 — or 2,228, depending on who is talking — detainees it released.
    Nick Oza/The Republic




    They are simple questions.

    Who went free when Immigration and Customs Enforcement released more than 2,200 detainees last year, citing sequestration cuts?

    Where are they now? How many had criminal histories? Who has been taken back into custody?

    ICE has been given ample opportunity to provide simple, straightforward answers. It has rejected every one, preferring obfuscation, contradiction and the stingy sharing of as little information as possible.

    In doing so, it only adds to the Department of Homeland Security’s reputation as a stonewaller. A vacuum of information encourages doubts and criticism. And it makes comprehensive immigration reform that much more difficult.

    ICE would serve itself and this country much better by releasing the names of all 2,226 — or 2,228, depending on who is talking — detainees it released. It should say who were high-risk Level 1 offenders and where they are now. It should do the same for Level 2 offenders.

    This information would either alleviate fears or allow police to enhance public safety. It would either buttress or undermine charges that ICE detains too many people who represent no risk to the public and are unlikely to flee.

    Instead, the agency rations information as if it were canteen water in an August desert.

    ICE officials provided no numbers in response to an Arizona Republic freedom-of-information request, saying only that freed detainees continue to be monitored. Trust us.

    Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said the feds have ignored his request for information about the 342 people released from four facilities in his county.

    Lawmakers have received information about some individual detainees, but they also have been given conflicting information.

    ICE’s standard story is that 10 Level 1 detainees were released, two of whom have since been deported. But in a letter to Sen. John McCain, an assistant secretary at Homeland Security said 32 Level 1 offenders had been released. He put the number of Level 2 offenders at 80, or half the number in previous reports.

    Which numbers are accurate? The best way to figure that out would be for ICE to release names, histories and current locations.

    Record-setting numbers of people have been deported under President Barack Obama’s administration, but Republicans resist immigration reform because they don’t trust him to enforce whatever they pass.

    That can be a head-scratcher. But ICE’s performance gives the Republican position credence. If the agency can’t be forthright in answering simple questions about last year’s mass release, how can GOP lawmakers trust it?

    ICE isn’t alone. The Border Patrol and Customs and Border Enforcement are also expert at withholding information, including metrics on border security. This has made the case for immigration reform more difficult by giving critics ample basis not to trust the agencies. The GOP can blame the president instead of its own internal fractures.

    It’s past time to change that equation. Transparency and accountability build trust and create a foundation for long-overdue reform. ICE can lead the way by being forthcoming in detailing whom it released last year and what has happened to them since.

    http://www.azcentral.com/opinions/ar...e-request.html
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