In the name of sequester-related budget cuts, the Obama Administration is moving forward with a controversial illegal immigration release program that, in the past, has produced fatal consequences.
Last Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney claimed that the Homeland Security Department (DHS) had released “a few hundred” illegal immigrants who are “low-risk, noncriminal detainees” from jails pending deportation hearings. But the Associated Press has now learned that the government released 2,000 illegal immigrants in recent weeks and planned to release another 3,000 in March.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano says the releases, which took place in Arizona, California, Georgia, and Texas, are the result of preparations for sequestration budget cuts.
"We're doing our very best to minimize the impacts of sequester, but there's only so much I can do," said Napolitano. "You know, I'm supposed to have 34,000 detention beds for immigration. How do I pay for those?"
It is presently unclear whether the White House’s claim that only “low-risk, noncriminal detainees” were released was in error, or just the total number of illegal immigrants put back on the streets.
Defenders of the Obama Administration's controversial move point out that the thousands of newly freed illegal immigrants are still slated to face deportation and appear in court. But in the past, President Barack Obama’s “supervised release” program for illegal immigrants has produced tragic consequences. As a previous Judicial Watch investigation revealed, Bolivian national Carlos Martinelly-Montano killed a Virginia nun and injured two others while driving drunk. At the time, Montano was part of the Alternatives to Detention (ADT) program which allows illegal immigrants facing deportation to stay out of jail while allegedly being monitored by federal officials. The Judicial Watch investigation also determined that Montano had committed a series of crimes.
"Simply blaming budget reductions as a means to turn a blind eye toward the national security of the American people is a dangerous plan," say Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
Update: The original version of this article incorrectly abbreviated "Department of Homeland Security" as HHS. "HHS" refers to the Department of Health and Human Services.