The Obama administration has acknowledged that over 2,000 detained illegal immigrants have been freed from US jails due to recent budget cuts. Earlier, US leaders strongly denied news reports on the release.
The release took place in February, AP reported.
However, four prisoners who were considered particularly
dangerous were re-imprisoned.
Earlier, the US administration claimed that just “a few
hundred” undocumented immigrants had been freed, saying that
the news reports of more than 2,000 detainees being released were
However, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John
Morton said Thursday that ICE had released 2,228 illegal immigrants
due to the budget cuts imposed as part of ‘sequestration.’
He defended the move by claiming that the alternative would have
been a reduction of investigations into smuggling and child
pornography, according to Reuters.
"We were trying to live within the budget that Congress had
provided us," Morton explained during a House Appropriations
Subcommittee hearing. “We have limited resources.”
The official also indicated that it cost around $122 a day to
keep someone in a detention center, compared to about $7 a day to
monitor them with electronic devices.
The acknowledgement of the release came as Obama administration
officials warned of the severe consequences of the spending cuts,
such as delayed flights, meat shortages and government
Republicans have alleged that the Obama administration freed the
immigrants to pressure lawmakers into undoing the automatic budget
cuts, Reuters reported.