U.S. immigration officials have released from federal custody hundreds of suspected illegal immigrants accused or convicted of crimes, including homicide and sexual assault, because of a lack of space and funds, according to the Houston Chronicle. The data, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, show that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials documented releasing suspects classified as criminal aliens during the past five years because of resource shortages.
Mary Loiselle, deputy director for ICE’s detention and removal operations, said the agency does not routinely release suspects specifically because of a “lack of space” or “lack of funds.” ICE could not explain why there were hundreds of documented releases for lack of resources. It is unclear whether the illegal immigrants identified in the records simply absconded after being released from custody and remain in the U.S. or eventually were deported. Loiselle said the agency’s own data might be wrong. “I don’t want to say every (entry) is wrong, but for the most part (.) we don’t have a lack of space or lack of funds.”