Immigrant Detainees Released In Record Numbers
Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) April 10, 2013 - Federal immigration authorities have released a number of detainees around the country to save money.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field offices have reportedly been told to examine the number of detained immigrants under their care to ensure that the jail population does not exceed the budgetary limits. A spokesperson for ICE has reported that a number of immigrants previously detained were released and are now under a more "cost effective" form of supervision as part of a budget-cutting measure. The spokesperson declined to say how many people were included in the budget-cutting measure.
"It makes sense to release noncriminals from detention as a cost-cutting measure, and to streamline the system," stated Houston immigration attorney Annie Banerjee
According to immigration advocates, ICE most likely released a number of detainees in high-immigrant states, including California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas. However, officials have stated that the deportation cases against those immigrants have not been abandoned. Their cases are slated to continue in court.
The decision to release the immigrants has reportedly angered many conservatives. Representative Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia, who is overseeing the House hearings on immigration reform as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has stated that he saw the releases as a move by the White House to undermine the ongoing debate regarding immigration reform, and that the release was jeopardizing the safety of the public.
But a spokesperson for ICE has stated that the detainees released were specifically “noncriminals and other low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal histories.” ICE reviewed the number of detainees and released the noncriminals as part of an attempt to stay within its budget, said the spokesperson. ICE's custody budget is currently $2.05 billion, officials said, with just over 30,770 people currently detained. Depending on ongoing budget negotiations, they may decide to release more detainees.
Detainees under the supervised release must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and check in for regular appointments at their regional immigration office. Advocacy groups applaud the move, and call for ongoing, more cost-effective measures for low-risk defendants. According to the National Immigration Forum, it is currently estimated that the system must spend an average of $164 per day to hold an immigration detainee in the system. Alternative detention systems, such as the monitoring bracelet, may cost as little as 30 cents per day, per immigrant.
Annie Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer specializing in helping people become United States citizens. The law offices assist in visas and other legal immigration requirements as well. To learn more, visit http://www.visatous.com.
Law Offices of Annie Banerjee
131 Brooks Street, Suite #300
Sugar Land, Texas 77478
Phone: (281) 242-9139