Yesterday, it was in the news that because of the pending federal budget sequestration the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was releasing detainees. What ICE is doing is utilizing alternatives to detention such as supervised release and ankle bracelets. Today, ICE provided the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) with the following statement about the releases:
As fiscal uncertainty remains over the continuing resolution and possible sequestration, ICE has reviewed its detained population to ensure detention levels stay within ICE’s current budget. Over the last week, ICE has reviewed several hundred cases and placed these individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention. All of these individuals remain in removal proceedings. Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety.
Ultimately, the question to be asked is why were these people placed on these methods of supervision that are less costly than detention in the first place? Obviously, since ICE is doing this, it believes that it has the legal authority to do so. Thus, why detain non-dangerous people at tax payer expense when they can be subjected to less costly methods of supervision. Hopefully, someone at ICE will realize that placing non-dangerous immigrants facing deportation on supervised release, instead of detention, is something that should happen all the time and not just when there are budget problems.