Hundreds of undocumented immigrants were released from jails across the country in an effort to save money before government budget cuts take effect later this week.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced Tuesday that the immigrants who were released were considered low-risk and non-criminal. They were released under supervision and will still be monitored while they await their court dates.
Officials said the releases took place in an effort to keep detention levels within ICE’s current budget, as the federal government is bracing for $85 billion in spending cuts due to start Friday.
While both Republicans and Democrats say they oppose the cuts, they cannot agree on a deal that would avoid them.
Those who have criticized the number of detentions and deportations under the Obama administration praised the ICE’s decision. At the same time, some Republicans criticized the move, saying it was a political ploy by the Obama administration to create public outcry about the pending cuts.
However, President Barack Obama’s spokesman said the White House was not involved in the decision to release these immigrants, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
The AP also reported that Gary Mead, the official in charge of immigration enforcement and removal, will resign from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the end of April. According to ICE spokeswoman, Mead announced his retirement several weeks ago.