Shortly before U.S. troops stormed Iraq to oust its dictator, Saddam Hussein released thousands of prisoners from Iraqi jails. Some were petty criminals, some were hardcore, some were terrorists. Hussein unleashed them to build his own popularity and to sow chaos.

Today, Barack H. Obama’s Department of Homeland Security is doing this:

The sequester is officially still three days away, but the Obama administration already is making the first cuts, with officials confirming that the Homeland Security Department has begun to release what it deems low-priority illegal immigrants from detention.

The move is proving controversial. Immigrant-rights groups say it shows the administration was detaining folks it never should have gone after in the first place, while Republicans questioned the decision-making.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that runs the detention facilities, said in a statement that the “current fiscal climate” has forced it to do a review of spending, and part of that is taking a look at who is being detained.

“As a result of this review, a number of detained aliens have been released around the country and placed on an appropriate, more cost-effective form of supervised release,” ICE said in a statement.

The cynicism of the move is breathtaking, even for this cynical administration. The “current fiscal climate” is one in which we are spending more than a trillion dollars per year than we take in. The 2009 stimulus spending is locked in. The sequestration threatens just $22 billion this year — and the president gets to choose where to cut. If the sky falls, it’s being brought down on our heads by this unethical rogue president.

So these releases are his choice. And he’s choosing them for pure racial politics and demagoguery. He’ll blame it all on Republicans, while shoring himself up with the amnesty chorus.

More: The president is also threatening to drop our border guard. In a rational age, these acts would be impeachable. Not too many years ago Californians recalled a governor for offering drivers licences to illegal aliens, and here we have a president flagrantly violating his oath to defend the nation.