Entries in Detainees (2)


ICE Admits Releasing 2,000+ Detainees Because of Budget

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After two weeks of denials, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have finally publicly acknowledged the release of more than 2,000 undocumented immigrants for budgetary reasons.

On Thursday at a hearing of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee, ICE Director John Morton admitted 2,228 were released for “solely budgetary reasons.”

Morton took full responsibility for the decision, saying it was an ICE decision, not a White House decision.

“And I take full responsibility for the agency, for the management of our beds,” he said. “And, as I have said and the secretary has said, you know, I regret that there is a level of surprise and questions about what we did.”

He testified that the decision was made to release detainees to allow the agency to “stay within its budget.” The other choice, he said, was to cut domestic investigators – money that is used to go after drug traffickers, alien smugglers, child pornographers and money launderers.

Of those released, 70 percent had “no record at all,” while 10 were classified as level 1 offenders – which includes aggravated assault and financial crimes. Another 159 were level 2 offenders, which includes those picked up for theft, larceny and DUIs; and 460 were level 3 offenders, which are misdemeanors and single DUIs.

Morton noted that authorities re-caught four of the level 1 offenders after releasing them, citing a computer error for their initial release.

“In some of those cases there was a question as to whether the records were accurately entered into our system,” Morton said. “And when I had all of them looked at, there were a couple where the computer record didn’t accurately reflect.”

During testimony, Morton said Texas had the most detainees released, although no level 1 releases.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama Weighs Move to Retain Control of Guantanamo Closure

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama may formally object to a provision that would prohibit the use of any funds to transfer detainees from the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to the United States for any purpose.

The provision -- attached to the defense authorization bill -- would be a critical blow to the president's stated goal of trying some Guantanamo detainees in civilian courts.  Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Congress late last year calling the provision "an extreme and risky encroachment on the authority of the executive branch to determine when and where to prosecute terrorist suspects."

A final decision on whether to issue a so-called signing statement, which was first reported by ProPublica, and its scope, has yet to be made by the president and his senior staff.

Signing statements are legal documents that a president issues to outline how he thinks a law should be implemented.  The statements can be largely ceremonial, explaining the president's view of the effects of the bill, or they can go as far as challenging the constitutionality of the provision and stating that the president will refuse to enforce it.

A White House official said Monday that even if the president decides to issue the signing statement, he will not seek to bypass the Guantanamo restrictions.  The statement instead would reflect Obama's intention to seek a reversal of the provision through Congress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio