The PJ Tatler

AP: 2,000 illegals released by DHS, Not 500

And the White House swears on a stack of Korans that they didn’t know a thing about it.

Associated Press:

The Homeland Security Department released from its jails more than 2,000 illegal immigrants facing deportation in recent weeks due to looming budget cuts and planned to release 3,000 more during March, The Associated Press has learned.

The newly disclosed figures, cited in internal budget documents reviewed by the AP, are significantly higher than the “few hundred” illegal immigrants the Obama administration acknowledged this week had been released under the budget-savings process.

The government documents show that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement released roughly 1,000 illegal immigrants from its jails around the U.S. each week since at least Feb. 15. The agency’s field offices have reported more than 2,000 immigrants released before intense criticism this week led to a temporary shutdown of the plan, according to the documents.

The states where immigrants were released include Arizona, California, Georgia and Texas.

The White House has said it was not consulted about the releases, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has acknowledged they occurred in a manner she regrets. White House spokesman Jay Carney on Wednesday said the government had released “a few hundred” of the roughly 30,000 illegal immigrants held in federal detention pending deportation proceedings. Carney said the immigrants released were “low-risk, noncriminal detainees,” and the decision was made by career ICE officials.

As of last week, the agency held an average daily population of 30,733 in its jails. The internal budget documents reviewed by the AP show the Obama administration had intended to reduce those figures to 25,748 by March 31.

We’re still waiting to hear just what the White House considers “low risk, non criminal detainees.” Somehow, I doubt whether the administration or DHS will be forthcoming in describing the “low risk” criminals they let loose on American streets.

ICE is pushing back against the AP report that 2,000 additional illegals were released in February:

But, according to ICE, just a small fraction of those releases are being driven by an effort to save money where possible because of sequestration. “Beyond that normal movement, and as fiscal uncertainty remains over the continuing resolution and possible sequestration, ICE reviewed its detained population to ensure detention levels stay within ICE’s current budget and placed several hundred individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention,” Christensen said.

“At this point, we don’t anticipate additional releases, but that could change based on sequester,” she added. “As such, the agency must prepare contingency plans in the event of future cuts, however those plans are simply deliberative as we do not yet know what the cut rate will be.”

They are not denying that 2,000 more illegals were released, only that it wasn’t related to the sequester. That’s exactly what I would say if the firestorm that broke over the original reports of releases got a senior manager fired and both Democratic and Republican House members went ballistic on DHS.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apparently doesn’t know what’s happening in her own department:

“Detainee populations and how that is managed back and forth is really handled by career officials in the field,” Napolitano told ABC. “Do I wish that this all hadn’t been done all of a sudden and so that people weren’t surprised by it? Of course.”

So to sum up, 5,000 illegal alien detainees can waltz away from custody without the president or his department head aware of it?

Incompetence or stupidity? Which is it, Barry?