Ten “level one” aliens held in detention were released by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) due to the sequestration according to testimony from ICE Director John Morton. Four were recaptured while the other six were allowed to remain free because they were considered non-violent, The Washington Times reported on March 14, 2013.
The threat of sequestration predicated the release of hundreds of aliens being held by ICE. Overall, 2,228 subjects were released on their own recognizance; 629 of these had criminal records.
ICE is funded to hold up to 34,000 immigrants awaiting deportation at any one time. He said that earlier in the fiscal year, ICE was holding up to 36,000 immigrants assuring the need for the reduction whether sequestration occurred or not.
Director Morton stated that he would rather release the immigrants held in custody than have to furlough ICE employees which could lead to a reduction in child pornography, drug and money laundering cases which he indicated were of a higher importance.
ICE investigators are an amalgamation of previous Immigration Special Agents under the Department of Justice and Customs Agents under the Department of Treasury combining into ICE under the Department of Homeland Security. Since the creation of this agency, the drastic difference in the previous two agencies’ scope of authority has caused extreme personnel conflicts even predicating murder between agents of different factions.