Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) , chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, is pressing for more information on Immigration and Customs Enforcement's detention polciies after the agency announced it was releasing hundreds of illegal immigrants as a result of sequestration cuts. A number of top Republicans have attacked ICE over the move, with some suggesting it was part of a propaganda campaign to pressure the GOP into caving on the sequester fight.
In a letter to ICE director John Morton, McCaul wrote Wednesday that the decision "reflects the lack of resource prioritization" within the agency and is "indicative of the [Department of Homeland Security's] weak stance on national security." He asked that the agency provide details on how many immigrant detainees were released, why there were in federal detention, and how they are being subsequently tracked.
The full letter:
Dear Director Morton:
I am concerned about the recent announcement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release a large number of detained persons. 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.
Congress mandated and provided resources to maintain 34,000 bed spaces for illegal immigrant detainees. As of last week, ICE reported 30,773 spaces filled, in clear violation of statute. I am also concerned that these releases were undertaken without notification to the appropriate Congressional oversight committees.
To better understand the details of these releases, I request you provide the following information, not later than March 6, 2013, relative to individuals already released, pending release, or forecast for release under this new policy:
· Total number of individuals released;
· Total number identified for release;
· Specific timeline and dates for future releases;
· Geographic breakdown of where detainees have been and will be released;
· For each individual, the specific reason for their initial detention;
· For each individual, the amount of time that they had been detained; and
· For each individual, the specific monitoring and tracking actions taken to maintain positive accountability of each person.
Your prompt attention to this matter is appreciated.