In a highly unusual move, federal immigration officials have released hundreds of detainees from immigration detention centers around the country, an effort to save money as automatic budget cuts loom in Washington, officials said Tuesday.
The government has not dropped the deportation cases against the immigrants, however. The detainees have been freed on supervised release while their cases continue in court, officials said.
But the move angered some Republicans, including Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who said the releases were a political gambit by the Obama administration that undermined the continuing negotiations over comprehensive immigration reform and jeopardized public safety.
Officials did not reveal precisely how many detainees were released or where the releases took place, but immigrants’ advocates around the country have been reporting that hundreds of detainees were freed in numerous locations, including Hudson County, N.J.; Polk County, Texas; Broward County, Fla.; and New Orleans; and from centers in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and New York.
Why not release them south of the border? -Roger U