Even though fifty-two illegal aliens were released onto its streets by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), officials in Pinal County told Front Page Magazine that ICE has still not shared any details about any individuals released. Furthermore, a whistle blower has told Pinal County officials that despite the Obama administration’s insistence that only non-violent individuals were among those released, several individuals were in fact charged with crimes ranging from manslaughter, robbery and aggravated assault on a police officer.
Starting on February 15, 2013, ICE began releasing suspected illegal aliens from a number of ICE facilities including one in Florence, Arizona, which is located in Pinal County. When Front Page Magazine attempted to get identities and other details of those released from the Florence facility, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said that office couldn’t provide any details because none were shared by ICE with Pinal County.
“Sheriff Paul Babeu has requested repeatedly a list of released detainees from the ICE facility [in Florence, Arizona] and a list of the charges they currently face and have faced in the past along with their threat levels.
“This has been met with constant refusals to provide the information,” said Pinal County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Tamra Ingersoll in an email.
Continuing later in the email, Ingersoll also said that despite assurances by the administration that all those released were non-violent, a whistle blower told their office that several of those released were suspected of committing violent crimes.
We do have very reliable information from “Whistle Blowers” within ICE that the “non-violent” offenders that the federal government keeps stating were the only ones released is not the truth.
The whistle blowers within ICE have contacted Sheriff Babeu with information that some of these detainees are inside for crimes against children; manslaughter, aggravated assault of officer, weapon offenses and other such violent crimes.
Amber Cargile, a spokesperson for ICE in Arizona, initially attempted to blame the sequester for the administration releasing these illegal aliens from custody. When pressed to explain why nothing about these individuals was shared with the Sheriff’s Office in Pinal County, Cargile said the generic statement was all she was authorized to release.
“The statement and background are all I’m authorized to provide at this time,” Cargile said in an email.
Starting in the middle of February, the administration began releasing suspected illegal aliens from a number of ICE facilities at about one thousand detainees per week. According to an internal ICE document, ICE plans to release one thousand detainees per week until the end of March, when the total number held will be just below 26,000. ICE facilities can hold a bit more than 34,000 detainees.
The move has sparked outrage from many in Congress. Earlier in the week, Matt Salmon of Arizona, whose 5th District includes Pinal County, was one of 37 members of Congress to send a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano expressing frustration that the sequester would be used as an excuse to release criminal illegal aliens. The statement read:
We are deeply concerned that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is using sequestration as a vehicle to further the Administration’s disregard for enforcing our immigration laws. Specifically, we are troubled by recent reports that DHS has released hundreds of illegal immigrants, rather than finding cost savings elsewhere in the agency.
Your agency’s decision to release “low-risk” illegal immigrants back into the public under the guise of saving money is extraordinary, unprecedented and dangerous. We understand that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), like all federal agencies, must find cost savings in order to comply with their new budget allocation. However, it is frankly irresponsible that your agency chose releasing detained immigrants as its first effort to control spending.
Because the cuts represent a 30% reduction in detainees, it’s difficult to believe that all of these suspected illegal aliens were released due to the sequester, which was supposed to enact a 5% reduction. So far, the administration, which once boasted it would be the most transparent in history, has not been very forthcoming in its explanation. The White House claimed the decision came from DHS. Meanwhile, Secretary Napolitano said the decision was made entirely by career bureaucrats, none of whom have explained themselves publicly. As such, it’s not yet clear what the basis was for this decision.
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