February 27, 2013
The undocumented aliens who were released are "noncriminals and low-risk offenders without a criminal history."
USA Today quoted Barbara Gonzalez ICE press secretary:
Because of the "fiscal uncertainty" hovering over the federal government, she said it was necessary to release them "to ensure detention levels stay within ICE's current budget."
"Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety," she said.Some of the released detainees were behind bars for minor offenses. One undocumented 19-year -old immigrant was jailed in Georgia for failing to use a turn signal.
Ignorant anti-immigrant folk, including members of the U.S. Congress, are incorrectly stating that President Obama was responsible for the release of undocumented aliens. Not true. The decision was made by ICE officials, not by President Obama as ICE spokesman Jay Carney clarified. I guess blaming the President is more fun.
The sequester will result in $85 billion in cuts. There are currently 30,700 undocumented immigrants in prison. ICE reported that a couple hundred were released. NPR reported:
Last year, the National Immigration Forum estimated that the cost per ICE detainee ranges $122-$164 per day. The organization also estimated that alternative methods of detention cost significantly less, between 30-cents to $14 per day per detainee.Should taxpayers be paying $164 a day to hold an undocumented immigrant for not using a turn signal? I would say no.