When it rains, it pours — particularly when it comes to government scandals. The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general released a report that found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials released more than 600 undocumented immigrants with criminal records in 2013 in order to cover across-the-board sequester cuts:
The watchdog determined that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s chief financial office decided to release thousands of detained immigrants in February 2013, hoping to cover part of an expected shortfall with a “sharp and immediate reduction in detention bed space.”
The inspector general said ICE knowingly released immigrants with criminal convictions, but continued to detain those it considered to be dangerous to the community. Federal law requires the agency to detain undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions.
Further, ICE officials released the illegals behind the backs of both DHS and the White House:
ICE leadership did not inform the Department of Homeland Security or the White House about its expected budget issues and did not notify the secretary of Homeland Security about plans for releasing immigrants as a remedy, according to the report, which was published last week.
Oh, the release of the immigrants also violated the law:
ICE is required by statute to hold 34,000 detainees, but congressional funding only covered about 31,300 of the required beds, according to the report. As sequestration approached, the agency was dealing with a recent 66 percent increase in the number of apprehensions at the Southwest border.
ICE realized in January 2013 that it would likely face a budget shortfall, but officials assumed that the agency could manage the situation by reducing the number of detained immigrants, according to the report. The inspector general said ICE officers “reviewed their own detained alien dockets to determine the best candidates for release.”
A lack of funding was no reason for ICE officials to release illegals at their own discretion without first consulting DHS, Congress, and the White House. This is exactly why the American people don’t trust the government — because the agencies don’t even bother to communicate with each other.