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McCain learns more details about detainees’ release

PHOENIX — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday new information shows customs enforcement released more than 600 detainees with criminal records.

Homeland Security set free more than 2,000 detainees in February because of impending budget cuts. About 200 detainees were released in Arizona.

“ICE’s reprehensible actions put Arizona at risk by setting free into our communities hundreds of detainees who were guilty of criminal offenses,” said McCain in a
statement, released jointly with Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who is chairman of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

From the statement:

In February 2013, in a misguided effort to comply with anticipated budget cuts due in part to sequestration, without explanation or warning, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials released from custody 2,226 detainees into communities across the country. In response to requests for information by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), after a three month delay and under threat of a possible subpoena, finally disclosed details about those releases. DHS disclosed that, as part of the larger release, it freed 622 detainees with criminal records, including 32 with multiple felony convictions.

Among the crimes committed by those released in Arizona, according to the statement, included second-degree robbery, drug possession, stalking and DUIs.

“The ICE officials responsible for this must face disciplinary action and must take all actions necessary to ensure that this never happens again,” McCain said.