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Feds Free Illegal Immigrants Ahead of Sequester Cuts

GOP calls move by customs agency a political stunt
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2013 5:15 PM CST
Feds Free Illegal Immigrants Ahead of Sequester Cuts
A file photo of illegal immigrants after being processed at a border post in Tucson.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(Newser) – As the clock ticks toward Friday's sequester deadline, we get what the AP calls the first tangible sign of those automatic budget cuts: The feds have released hundreds of illegal immigrants awaiting deportation hearings at detention centers around the country, reports the New York Times. A spokeswoman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office tied the move directly to the looming cuts: “ICE has directed field offices to review the detained population to ensure it is in line with available funding."

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Technically, the detainees remain under court supervision, but if history holds, most will never show up for their next court date, reports the Washington Post. Republicans immediately called it a political stunt. “It’s abhorrent that President Obama is releasing criminals into our communities to promote his political agenda on sequestration,” said Virginia Rep. Robert Goodlatte in a statement getting wide circulation. Earlier, Obama again urged congressional Republicans to compromise before Friday, calling the cuts "a self-inflicted wound that doesn’t have to happen.” (John Boehner, meanwhile, had some colorful advice to the Senate on the sequester.)

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