On Tuesday, House Republicans quizzed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton on why he hadn’t tried to direct sequestration cuts toward areas other than release of illegal immigrant detainees. Morton attempted to blame “career agency officials” rather than political appointees.
In February, 2,228 detainees were released and placed on supervised monitoring in an attempt to frighten the American people about the upcoming ramifications of sequestration. “I am trying to live within the appropriations that Congress gives us,” Morton protested. “Our single largest appropriation is for custody operations …. My view is we need to maintain the operations of the agency; I don’t want to furlough people.” So instead of furloughing administrative employees, Morton simply directed ICE to release illegal immigrants, many of them dangerous.
While the Obama White House proclaims that these releases were not dangerous, Morton admitted that 30 percent had criminal records, and 10 percent had criminal records worse than one or two misdemeanors. That means approximately 200 relatively serious criminals were released. Eight Level-1 criminal offenders were released; four are still at large. Level-1 offenders are the most serious offenders.