Homeland Security Denies ICE Official Is Leaving Over Immigrant Release


The Department of Homeland Security today denied that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official is leaving the agency amid scrutiny over its release of several hundred undocumented immigrants who had been detained, Politico reports. A report by Associated Press “is inaccurate and misleading,” ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said, responding to the AP’s story that made it sound like Gary Mead, the director of Enforcement and Removal Operations, was taking the fall for the detainee release. ICE said Mead told the agency’s senior leadership several weeks ago that he would retire after 40 years in federal service. Officials from the White House and department headquarters said they were unaware of the release of detainees — described by ICE as a cost-cutting measure ahead of sequestration — until the agency announced it on Tuesday. The AP’s report came after it obtained an email that Mead sent to colleagues on Tuesday, informing them of his planned retirement just hours after ICE announced it had released hundreds of detainees. The story strongly implied that there was a link between the departure and the detainee release, saying Mead had “resigned after hundreds of illegal immigrants were released from jails because of government spending cuts.”

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