At a time when immigration and border security have become issues of keen importance, let’s revisit an epic Obama Administration failure from a couple of months ago, when 2,228 illegal alien detainees were released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As reported by the Washington Examiner, ICE Director John Morton just confirmed that the release of these detainees was entirely unnecessary:
???We can seek reprogramming requirements, that is absolutely true, Mr. Chairman, and we did not in this instance,??? Morton told House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., during a hearing this afternoon. ???I did not want to rob Peter to pay Paul. My view is that we need to maintain the operations of the agency, I did not want to furlough people, and my view is that I need to make rational decisions across the [agency accounts].???
???Reprogramming requirements??? refers to a request to ???reprogram??? how an agency spends the money allotted to it by Congress. Morton???s answer not only makes clear that he could have avoided releasing those detainees ??? 70 percent of which had no criminal record, he emphasized ??? but also supports the Republican argument that President Obama already has the flexibility to handle the sequester. In fact, Republicans have invited the Obama administration to ???reprogram??? the sequester.
???We sent out on Feb. 28 a letter to every Cabinet officer asking them what changes they???d like to have ??? pluses, subtractions and so on ??? to give them an opportunity to show us at least one program they would like to have cut, which would then save on sequestration,??? Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told The Washington Examiner???s Byron York. ???We did not receive a single answer.???
So yes, the Administration did this on purpose, but it didn’t work, because Americans did not kneel to the President’s demand for more taxes. Or, if you prefer the narrative pushed by defensive Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, it was just good old incompetence, Benghazi-style: “poor communications between the people in charge of ICE’s budget and the people in charge of its enforcement operations,” as ranking Democrat John Conyers (D-MI) put it.
But no biggie, because hey, fully 70 percent of them didn’t have any criminal records. Other than the crime of violating the U.S. border, of course, but we’re not even really supposed to think of it as a crime. In fact, major news organizations like the Associated Press have forbidden their writers to describe it that way – no more talk of “illegal immigrants.”
Better still, Conyers assures us that “93 percent of the people released by ICE were non-criminals or low, low-level offenders.” Close enough for government work!