Under pressure from Congress, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has disclosed new details about the criminal backgrounds of some of the approximately 2,200 immigration detainees let out of custody in February in anticipation of spending cuts, saying that 32 of the 622 convicted criminals released nationwide had multiple felony convictions, reports the Arizona Republic.
The new details raised more questions about the decision in February by Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials to release 2,226 immigration detainees from facilities in several states in order to slow rising detention costs in the face of $300 million in automatic budget cuts known as the sequester, which kicked in March 1. During two congressional hearings in March, ICE Director John Morton insisted that only detainees who did not pose a threat to public safety were released and that all remained under supervision. Information released by DHS in response to requests from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations shows that ICE has taken back into custody 58 of the convicted criminals released nationally after a review showed the seriousness of their offenses. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told the newspaper: “You should be concerned with people who are guilty of second-degree robbery, DUI, stalking convictions — those kinds of things. They're just released out into the public when they are in this country illegally.”