|Published:||Feb 26, 2013 10:42 PM EST|
|Updated:||Feb 26, 2013 10:52 PM EST|
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The sequester deadline is still three days away, but the first impact of the federal budget cuts are already being seen.
The Department of Homeland Security, the agency that enforces immigration, confirmed they have released hundreds of illegal immigrants from U.S. Deportation Centers because they can no longer afford to keep them.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says it's necessary, but Republicans call the move irresponsible.
Immigration officials say they are releasing those illegal immigrants that are non-criminals and low-risk offenders.
"All I can say is, you know look, look, we're doing our very best to minimize the impacts of the sequester, but there's only so much I can do," says Napolitano.
In Florida, there are five Immigration Detention Centers. They are in Glades County, Miami-Dade, Broward County and near Jacksonville and Tallahassee.
An ICE spokesperson would not reveal how released immigrants were selected or what jails they were released from, just that they have been placed on supervised release.
Rep. John Boehner told CBS Evening News Anchor Scott Pelley, "this is very hard for me to believe that they can't find cuts elsewhere in their agency. I frankly think this is outrageous."
According to the National Immigration Forum, jailing an illegal immigrant costs about $164 a day, while supervised release costs anywhere from 30 cents to $14 dollars a day.
"I'm supposed to have 34,000 detention beds for immigration," says Napolitano. "How do I pay for those?"
Rep. Boehner says, "I think that the administration is trying to play games. Play games with the American people, scare the American people. This is not leadership. This is not dealing with the spending problem our country has."
ICE officials say released immigrants still have to face deportation proceedings. In the meantime, they are required to either wear electronic tracking devices or check-in with immigration officials on a regular basis.
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