Today Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that to meet sequester budget cuts, they are releasing undocumented immigrants who have been arrested. Those released are supposed to have ankle monitors and report in frequently. Some of these detainees have already been released, although the sequester of funds does not begin until Friday.
Press Secretary Jay Carney said the White House did not tell ICE to do this. But nothing of this magnitude is done without at least informing the President. It is significant that the administration has not told ICE to stop these releases until the fate of the sequester is known. President Obama should be ashamed of allowing this to happen just to advance his political agenda.
We are being told that these detainees are not criminals, i.e. not violent. But even ignoring the fact that crossing the border without authorization is a crime, they have broken some law (traffic violation, DUI, etc.) which got them arrested. If an American citizen is arrested for a DUI, they go to jail and do not get released just because the arresting jurisdiction wants to save money. Why weren’t law enforcement expenses excluded from the sequester for safety reasons? That seems more important than college Pell grants which were exempted.
This does not need to happen. Nothing in the sequester legislation requires agencies to implement cuts before the deadline or even instantly after the deadline. The approximately 5% cut in spending is to be applied to the remaining seven months of this fiscal year.
I saw one news report with a woman giving testimony that this plan costs $10 per day per person,compared to $120 per day for detention. (Are the prisoners getting filet mignon for dinner each night?) A reporter on another network said he was told the costs were $14 compared to $164. (Does anyone really know what is going on?) Using either set of figures, the savings are about 92%. That is far more than the required 5%, so I have to wonder if the sequester is cover for some other reason to release large numbers of illegal detainees.
Has anyone in the administration considered that deporting these undocumented people would be even less expensive? The only cost would be to transport them to the border. With the “supervised” release, ICE employees must still be paid to monitor those released.
Using scare tactics to push a political viewpoint teeters on the edge of ethical boundaries; ignoring laws and possibly endangering Americans is a desperate move that goes over the ethical line and must be stopped.