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ICE, Facing Budget Crunch, Could Release Thousands of Immigrants

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement could “slash its capacity to hold detainees,” and release thousands of immigrants, according to ICE plans in the wake of a failed Senate border bill that would have erased a $700 million budget shortfall, the Washington Post reports. The bipartisan border bill that Republican lawmakers opposed last week would have provided $6 billion in supplemental funding for ICE enforcement operations.  Erin Heeter, a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson, said Congress has “chronically underfunded” the department’s “vital missions on the southwest border.”


Now, ICE officials are planning to meet their budget constraints by releasing thousands of detainees and cutting detention levels from 38,000 beds to 22,000. That’s the opposite of the enforcement increases Republicans say they want, even as we head into spring, when illegal crossings at the southern border are expected to spike again. The ICE plans are being made while controversy lurks at nearly every aspect of immigration. On Tuesday, House Republicans voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his border record, and immigration remains President Biden’s worst-rated issue in polls.



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