ICE's 2013 Release of Immigrants Not as Scandalous as Advertised

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement's release of more than 2,000 immigrant detainees in early 2013 wasn't particularly extraordinary, according to an investigation into the matter.

Senator John McCain has alleged that public safety was put at risk by the releases, and Governor Jan Brewer said she believed the releases were the Obama Administration's attempt to "punish" Arizona for having tough immigration laws.

According to the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General, the situation was "problematic" from an administrative standpoint, but the report says local ICE offices "applied selection criteria and processes appropriately" in deciding which detainees to release.

See also:
-Brewer: Feds' National Release of Immigrants Is Payback, Punishment for Arizona

The releases were done in response to a budget shortfall at ICE, and the inspector general faults the agency for not telling Homeland Security or the President's office about its plan to release this many detainees at once.

However, investigators didn't find anything particularly wrong with the detainees the regional ICE offices decided to release:

"Between February 9 and March 1, 2013, Enforcement and Removal Operations field offices released some aliens with criminal convictions whose detention was statutorily required. However, field offices did not release aliens they considered a danger to the community. Given the short timeframe of the releases and the mandate from ICE headquarters to do so, Enforcement and Removal Operations Field Office Directors applied selection criteria and processes appropriately. Enforcement and Removal Operations officers reviewed their own detained alien dockets to determine the best candidates for release. Enforcement and Removal Operations supervisory field officers reviewed each release recommendation."
After this report was released, McCain slammed the Obama Administration for the release of more than 600 detainees who had previous criminal convictions.

"The safety of our border communities shouldn't be put at risk because ICE officials decide to release detainees--many with criminal records--in order to solve their budget problems without waiting to see if they could obtain more funding," McCain said in a statement.

Again, the inspector general's office found that, "ICE executive leadership requested that ICE attorneys conduct two reviews of aliens categorized as aggravated felons or felons. ICE officials leading and participating in these reviews concluded that [Enforcement and Removal Operations] officers made reasonable release decisions given the short timeframe."

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, McCain, along with Senator Jeff Flake, state that "54 of the released detainees had to be recaptured after ICE officials reviewed their files."

Again, that doesn't tell the whole story. According to the IG's report, "Many redetained aliens were ill, had served their sentences more than a decade earlier, were non‐violent offenders, or were final order cases and would require release within a few months."

The letter from McCain and Flake also associates the releases with crimes allegedly committed by undocumented immigrants who've been deported multiple times:

"Post-apprehension policies with regard to detainees are even more important in the criminal detainee context. Just a week ago, two undocumented immigrants from Mexico--who have reportedly each been deported multiple times--were rearrested and charged with the first-degree murder of off-duty U.S. Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega, Jr., in Texas. Last month, an undocumented immigrant who had been deported four times was able to reenter the United States and remain undiscovered until the day he was arrested for molesting a nine-year old girl. In May, an undocumented immigrant with prior criminal convictions in the U.S. was driving on the wrong side of the road with three times the legal blood-alcohol content when he struck and killed Sergeant Brandon Mendoza of the Mesa Police Department. These incidents come a year after another previously deported undocumented immigrant killed Phoenix police officer Daryl Raetz in a hit-and-run collision."
There's been no indication that any of these suspects were part of the early 2013 ICE releases, and we've asked McCain's office to clarify that. A spokeswoman told New Times this morning to e-mail our questions, and we didn't get an immediate response.

That said, the ICE field office in Phoenix did release more immigrants with criminal records than any other field office in the country.


Federal law outlines which unauthorized immigrants with criminal records are subject to "mandatory detention," and the IG's report doesn't claim ICE violated these laws.

This IG report doesn't make a fuss about which immigrants ICE decided to release, but does blast the agency for its handling of the budget -- which isn't quite as scandalous as a conspiracy by the Obama Administration to make Governor Brewer mad.

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valleynative topcommenter

"Not as scandalous"  pretty much sums up the article.

Sure, a few felons were released. but "...officers made reasonable release decisions given the short timeframe."

54 had to be recaptured, but some of those weren't because they were dangerous, so no big deal, right?

Hector Joe Mora
Hector Joe Mora

Pasty faced McCain and the Witch are both full of shit . They should go away .


It's more scandalous than advertised because of course the liberal media hides everything. Look at for articles the mainstream media hasn't told you about.

And because our tax dollars are funding La Raza, a radical ethic-front group, they must be defunded and derailed. See

Scott Hecker
Scott Hecker

I was right in the middle of one of the raids at a Dannys car wash. They had my mother in tears while they were running around with guns, screaming at people. They were very professional, but it was a scary situation regardless.

MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

This is yet another example of World War I trench warfare.

The House of representatives has the obligation to insure federal agencies are appropriately funded. The fact that house republicans continue to underfund federal agencies is grossly negligent on their part and is not the fault of the president.

john043012 topcommenter

This is another case of the Obama administration not enforcing our immigration laws and putting blame elsewhere . Does anyone in their right mind think the once detained illegal immigrants would show up for their court dates? The towns and cities where they where released got no heads up just like the kids who are now being dumbed on towns and cities thru out the country there is no communication .

ExpertShot topcommenter

@john043012 This is another case of John043012 exhibiting paranoid delusions, providing concrete evidence as to just why he should not be allowed to own a weapon. 

You are obviously NOT in your right mind. 

The Republicant Congress fails to fund ICE properly and you blame the man who has no responsibility under the constitution for making sure the Congress funds ICE properly.  Like I said, concrete evidence you are mentally imbalanced.


@john043012 the inspector general faults the agency for not telling Homeland Security or the President's office about its plan to release this many detainees at once.

ExpertShot topcommenter

@JoeArpaioFan @john043012 Why do you want to have intercourse with our President - I hope you would wait until marriage. 

JAFFY and BAMA sittin in tree, JAFFY boned BAMA one, two, three.

john043012 topcommenter

@ExpertShot  "the man has no responsibility under constitution for making sure congress funds I.C.E" So the best they could come up with is to release the prosecuted and found guilty illegal immigrant felon's back into our society instead of deporting them.

The man as you so eloquently call our failed president is going to give 11-30 (who knows) illegal immigrants working paper's within the next few weeks (so we are told) by simply using his pen and phone he has had his hacks looking for loopholes so he can bypass congress and do it. They can always find the money the problem is the Democrats do not want any of their liberal funded programs to be cut in order to get the what you suggest cash needed it always get stalled in the senate which be the way has a democrat majority

john043012 topcommenter

@Hock Vote for Obama yeah right, the inspector general faults an agency for not telling  homeland security or the presidents office, all the while the president is out on the stump telling us how we should think. He wants to legalize those people and give them working paper's. I see no miscommunication there do you ? the president does not believe in enforcing our immigration laws and its obvious even to the simple minded that the federal  agencies he put his hacks in charge of get that message loud and clear , yah think

ExpertShot topcommenter

@john043012 @ExpertShot If the President does grant prosecutorial discretion to ICE to leave the hard working migrant workers in this country alone, the benefit to our economy in bringing these people into our economic system will help boost our economy.  You are against adding growth to our economy?  You must be a socialist - bucking for the failure of our economy.

If President Obama does something, I hope an immigrant takes your job and SHOVES IT UP YOUR IGNORANT, LYING, BIGOTED ASSHOLE!

ps:  Have a nice day.

john043012 topcommenter

@ExpertShot If Obama gives 11-30 (who knows) million illegal immigrants working papers the jobs many black people hold today will be targeted. The facts are those people will work for less . The job market for the illiterate good with your hands types is drying up they will not be helping the middleclass they will be the working poor entitled to every mandated taxpayer subsidy available.

ExpertShot topcommenter

@john043012 The "facts" are that:
1.  There is a minimum wage law in this Country.  The only reason these people are working for less now is because employers know they can violate that law.  Make work visa available for them and employers can no longer exploit them.

2.  As wages go up (you really don't believe all these people we're talking about don't work now do you? LOL), people will spend more money and the economy will grow - creating the DEMAND for more jobs.  That FACT is an economic certainty which you refuse to understand.  There will be MORE jobs and MORE expansion of our economy.  That is the history of our country.

3.  There are FAR MORE illiterate white people in the workforce than black people - why would you play the race card here? 

I think you have an agenda which doesn't include what's good for ALL, but for your narrow, bigoted agenda.

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