United States Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano requesting detailed information on the impact to Arizona communities of the misguided U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) decision to release hundreds of detained illegal immigrants in advance of the sequester and the pending continuing resolution. In releasing these detainees, DHS claims the intent of ICE was to make certain that the "detained population" of those who had crossed the border illegally is "in line with federal funding." This action occurred shortly after Secretary Napolitano stated that as a result of the impending sequester, DHS "would not be able to maintain the 34,000 detention beds as required by Congress."
The letter requests the following information to illustrate the full impact of ICE's action -- specifically to Arizona's border communities:
The number of detainees released in Arizona;
A list of the charges brought against each detainee (with any personal information redacted to protect privacy);
The number of detainees released and now under supervision per county in Arizona and the nature of the reportedly less-expensive monitoring efforts being employed;
The steps ICE took to notify Arizona state and local law enforcement agencies of the decision to release the detainees;
A detailed comparison of the specific cost-savings purported to be gained by the recent detainee release in Arizona and the costs that would have been incurred otherwise;
A detailed description of the existing authority that ICE has to unilaterally determine that a given detainee should be released; and
An overview of any intentions ICE has for further planned releases in Arizona.
"This action further jeopardizes the safety and security of our southern border while illustrating perfectly why Americans don't trust the federal government to repair our broken immigration system," said Flake.