02/26/2013 09:52:33 AM EST
ICE Releases Some Immigrant Detainees as Sequester Looms
"Immigration and Customs Enforcement released some people from immigrant detention facilities across the country on Monday in response to looming federal budget cuts. "In order to make the best use of our limited detention resources in the current fiscal climate and to manage our detention population under current congressionally mandated levels, ICE has directed field offices to review the detained population to ensure it is in line with available funding," agency spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said in a statement. ICE and the Department of Homeland Security are analyzing spending as congressional inaction increases the likelihood of so-called budget sequestration -- across-the-board spending cuts that begin on March 1. Detaining immigrants is an expensive business, with an average daily cost of $122 to $164 per person, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Alternatives, including ankle bracelets and parole, are far cheaper. Christensen declined to say how many undocumented immigrants were freed on Monday or to give their locations. She said they have been "placed on an appropriate, more cost-effective form of supervised release." ICE did not drop the cases against the individuals and will still deport them if ordered by an immigration judge, she said." - Elise Foley, Feb. 25, 2013.