Last Updated:November 28 @ 08:46 am

White House Refuses Responsibility for Release of Illegal Aliens

By McClatchy Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - The White House worked Wednesday to distance itself from the recent release of illegal immigrants from federal custody, a move officials at the Department of Homeland Security suggested was necessary given looming budget cuts.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the decision to release hundreds of low-level, non-criminal detainees from across the country was made by "career officials at ICE" to ensure that Immigration and Customs Enforcement stayed within budget while continuing to monitor and seek the deportation of every individual released.

The release came "as a result of fiscal uncertainty over the continuing resolution, as well as possible sequester," Carney said. "When it comes to border security, I think (Homeland Security) Secretary (Janet) Napolitano made clear that we should be building on the progress we've made, but unfortunately, we're talking about sequestration."

Also Wednesday, ICE disputed reports that Gary Mead, who oversees enforcement and removal operations at the agency, had announced his resignation in the wake of the release. Spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said Mead had long ago planned to retire this spring.

"As planned, and as shared with ICE staff weeks ago, Mr. Mead will retire at the end of April," Christensen wrote in an email.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Mead shared his resignation with staff in an email just hours after immigration advocates reported seeing groups of detainees leaving detention centers in Texas, Florida and Louisiana.

Christensen called the AP report "inaccurate and misleading." Mead gave his resignation to ICE senior leadership several weeks ago, after serving in government for 40 years and with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for six, Christensen said.

Christensen did not respond to a request for Mead's original letter of resignation, as well as additional details on the detainees released.

Several Republican lawmakers bristled at the mass releases. While ICE is required by Congress to maintain 34,000 detention beds, the agency reported filling only 30,773 spaces last week, according to a letter sent to ICE's director on Wednesday by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee.

In the letter, McCaul implored the agency to share more details of the releases, including how many people were let go and what monitoring and tracking actions Homeland Security is taking for each one.

"This decision reflects the lack of resource prioritization within the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is indicative of the Department's weak stance on national security," McCaul wrote.

Agustin Morales was among the dozens of detainees released in the early hours of Tuesday morning from Broward Transitional Center in Florida. Morales, who had been a low-priority detainee for nearly 10 months, said a guard came to his room Monday night and brought him to an office to ask a few questions about his record.

After Morales confirmed he lived in Naples, Fla., and had legal family members to meet him at the detention center, he was processed and released about 1 a.m. Tuesday, he recalled. He was not told why about 100 people were released from the same center, but he said he thought officials made decisions based on detainees' records.

Morales said he has to return to check in with ICE this week and once more next month, but he doesn't know what comes next.

"I tried to prove many things that I can be eligible to be out and be in this country and they don't let me," Morales said. "I think God is the one who got me released. He's the one who everything is through."


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  1. petarkComment by petark
    February 28, 2013 @ 8:34 am

    What CUTS? Holy smokes, the sequester is a reduction in the rate of growth, not a CUT! How can DHS anticipate a reduction and then act when there is no reduction. When will Congress and the MSM stand up and call this administration on this incorrect accusation.

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      February 28, 2013 @ 10:03 am

      The only thing Obama manages to cut when he opens orifice to speak is the cheese. Me thinks there is something rotten in Denmark and the Whitehouse as well.

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    • trorkComment by trork
      February 28, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

      This is such complete babbling BS – More outright LIES from this administration! Unbelievable! Where is the media “Truth Squad” now?

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      February 28, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

      “Jay Carney said the decision to release hundreds of low-level, non-criminal detainees from across the country was made by “career officials at ICE”

      Jay Carney is a liar and he refers to “illegal aliens” as “non-criminal detainees”. If they were not criminals, explain how they arrived here ILLEGALLY.

      No “career official” has the authority to violate immigration laws and simply choose to release illegal aliens for any reason. That authority lies with a judge and the court system.

      WHOEVER approved this illegal action should be IMPEACHED and if possible prosecuted for violation of federal laws.

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    • gnafuComment by gnafu
      February 28, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

      bna42> We all know who issued this order so who do they think they are trying to “fool.” Isn’t that what this president does is create fear by intimidation and watch the people go berserk! I wonder how many “detainees” have converted to Muslim with the implant of Muslims who act as jail Chaplains? Hopefully, those released will get the hell out of Dodge and return to their country of origin or find another country that will give them their living subsistence.

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  2. billconnerComment by billconner
    February 28, 2013 @ 9:35 am

    Well i know this was coming they deny everything and the seguestor doesn’t even go into effect into tomorrow and its the defense budget thats getting hammered and by the way its Obama’s sequestor anyways he suggested it and signed it does he follow Polesi lead and say lets sign it and then see whats in it its no wonder califronias bankrupt with idiots in office which doesn’t say much for voter in cali either where did they go to college university of libatards?

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    • jaycee1234Comment by jaycee1234
      February 28, 2013 @ 10:35 am

      This is truly madness as Bo bWoodward said.Of course they are denying it.They deny everything and blame republicans. If anyone is murdered,raped or harmed by anyone of these released individuals it will be on Obama’s head. He’s also holding back the release of aircraft carriers blaming budget cuts when they haven’t gone into effect yet and they are not cuts. Everyone is getting more than last year only not as much.

      Rudy Guiliani wa on with Sean Hannity last night and he said he cut 12% of his budget down to zero when he was mayor of New York City and the city still thrived.

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    • roniferComment by ronifer
      February 28, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

      If Saul Alinsky were alive today he’d be mighty proud of his protege Barack Hussein Obama, hater of our country, our economy, our once greatness, and all of our White citizens ! We sure made a horrible mistake when we allowed the likes of this inept Fraud to be president – and we will rue it for decades to come !

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  3. chief1937Comment by chief1937
    February 28, 2013 @ 9:43 am

    Another case of I didn’t know anything about it syndrome funny this administration seems to not know about much of anything and responsible for nothing.Do we even know who is in charge any more it seems no one is.Guess they looked into their crystal ball and decided what needed to be done.Wake up congress time for action has passed and you have accomplished nothing.Next action do away with all laws that way no one can break them then we don’t have to spend funds locking them up then releasing I think the Keystone Cops have taken over.

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  4. mysticComment by mystic
    February 28, 2013 @ 11:12 am

    Obama the bully tantrum thrower. This is right out of fifth grade playground rules 101. Ask your kids, they can fill you in on all the step by step details! No kidding!

    So this supposed cut (laughable, reduction in future spending that affects a flea’s hair) is allowing Obama to release known criminals out into a populace…for what? So people can be DUI’d and die at the hands of these illegals? So woman can be raped? So children can be terrorized and have a pedophile looming over them? I mean come on…they are in there not for just being a illegal…I don’t think anyone incarcerates an illegal for just being an illegal. They usually ‘earn’ their way into our detention facilities.

    This story makes me see red! I am calling today the office of ICE, AZ and FL. branch..and I suggest you do the same! This is outrages. Make calls to Jan Brewer and Marco Rubio as well. Flood the lines folks…fax, email, make your voice heard! We are now at an en passe with Obama…and now he has finally gone one step too far!


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  5. gnafuComment by gnafu
    February 28, 2013 @ 11:12 am

    Sounds like more fear mongering by our professional street organizer and his inept staff. The order to release illegal detainees had to be devised either in private quarters or behind closed doors at the White House Level. Who else has total control over ICE and Homeland Security? More ammunition for Congress if they will act on it.

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  6. sirodComment by sirod
    February 28, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

    If you will read Saul Alinsky’s book, Rules For Radicals, you will actually see Obama and understand what he learned from Alinsky and what the potus is doing to America.

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  7. bf39Comment by bf39
    February 28, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

    Right on forwardecabinkey. obama has destroyed The United States of America.
    Before this happened, obama wanted all the illegals to have access to citizenship, RIGHT NOW, and not be deported. What better way to get it started than what just happened.
    I also want obama and holder to take responsibility for Fast and Furious and Benghazi. The news media sure is keeping it swept under the rug!
    I’m getting tired of obama and the dems blaming Bush and the Republicans for everything.

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  8. forwardcabinkeyComment by forwardcabinkey
    February 28, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

    Every one of the illegally released illegal aliens was released by Barry. Every weapon wantonly placed through “Fast and Furious” into the hands of a drug cartel assassin was handed over by Barry. Every toddler, elder, boy, girl, man, woman, disabled traveler molested and groped at TSA was molested and humiliated and terrified by Barry. Barry Obama is head of the Executive Branch of the US Government. HE is responsible for every one of these despicable acts. No, I don’t think he’s really the kind of guy with whom I would like to have a beer after work. He IS the kind of guy I would impeach for every act in defiance of the Constitution of the United States.

    I am glad GITMO is still open; I would like to reserve a room for him there. As disgusting a thought as it is, I would be willing to fly him down there myself right now. Please fasten your seatbelts, stow your carryons under your seat, and return your seats and dining trays to their upright position. We should be landing at Club Gitmo shortly. On behalf of the Captain and Crew it’s been our pleasure to fly with our very special guests today. Please enjoy your stay.

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