A report released last week indicates that more than 600 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions were released by federal authorities in early 2013.
The releases came shortly before highly publicized government budget cuts – which the Obama administration was publicly opposed to – were made.
The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General’s report showed that the “criminal aliens” were released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). At the time, the agency came under fire for the decision; critics described the move as politically motivated and dangerous.
According to the report, the ICE was trying to address a budget shortfall by reducing the number of people in detention centers.
Amongst the 2,226 immigration detainees who were released, 629 detainees had criminal convictions. Most of the detainees with criminal convictions had “level 3” criminal convictions, which means they were implicated in lower-level offenses.
However, amongst the group were also dozens of “level 1” and “level 2” inmates, the former of which includes those convicted of offenses ranging from murder to rape to robbery.
“It is baffling how an agency charged with homeland security and immigration enforcement would knowingly release hundreds of illegals with criminal histories,” said Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn, who was one of the senators who requested the probe.
The report indicated that many of the immigrants were required by law to be held; ultimately, dozens of those who had been released ended up being re-detained.
In April 2013, the agency reported that 24 of the 34 released “level 1” detainees had been returned to ICE custody. Of the 80 released “level 2” inmates, 30 were brought back.