Illegal immigrants set to be released ahead of sequester - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Illegal immigrants set to be released ahead of sequester

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ATLANTA -

Illegal immigrants currently being held in jails across the nation, including in Georgia, are about to be released because the Department of Homeland Security doesn't have enough money.

Most federal government agencies are looking at areas they can cut ahead of the potential sequester set to go into effect on March 1.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement says that over the past week, they've reviewed several hundred cases and placed those individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention. That could range from ankle monitoring devices to having to check-in with the DHS office on a regular basis.

At a Cobb County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, where they were voting on a federal immigration program, people commented on the potential release of those immigrants.

Amy Barnes said if money is tight, it's the right thing to do.
 
"I think the large majority of ICE arrestees are nonviolent, and it just costs too much, it's thousands of dollars. To keep an inmate up can cost as much as $40,000," Barnes said. "It is fiscally conservative because we will not be funding these people's three squares and a cot."

Other say releasing hundreds of illegal immigrants is dangerous and is just a scare tactic.

"This is ridiculous. The president just spent about $21 million going on vacation. If it was truly a budget issue we could cut back on different priorities," said DA King.

In an average week, there are a little more than 30,000 illegal immigrants held in facilities across the country. It is costly, but some say Republicans and Democrats need to work together to find the best and safest solution.

"People are using some excuses to do anything to stop the sequester and we don't know really where that line was taken on releasing people from prison," said Bill Bolton.  "Everybody's fighting this political ball and they're trying to make it hurt."

An ICE spokesman told FOX 5's Denise Dillon that some illegal immigrants currently held in Georgia facilities will be among those released, but he would not give a specific number of how many.

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