A striking announcement came today from federal immigration officials. They say they are releasing immigrants from detention centers around the country. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, says the move is necessary because of looming budget cuts. NPR's Ted Robbins follows immigration for us and joins us now. And, Ted, to start, I mean, just how unusual is this for detained immigrants to be released in this way?
TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: Audie, no one I spoke with can remember it ever happening. The government has been steadily increasing the number of immigrant detainees over the last decade, so to have this sudden release is really unusual. Apparently, it began over the weekend. ICE is saying it's because the agency has to, quote, "make the best use of limited detention resources in the current fiscal climate."
CORNISH: So who qualifies for release and just how many people are we talking about?
ROBBINS: ICE hasn't said exactly how many, but I got an email this afternoon saying that they have reviewed several hundred cases and placed individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention. That's the way they put it.
One sheriff in Arizona says 500 people were released from a large detention facility in Florence and Eloy, Arizona. No confirmation on that particular thing, but I wouldn't be surprised if the number rises to a few thousand by the time it's over. Everyone released is still in removal proceedings, meaning deportation. So it's important to say that the cases are not being dropped.
Next up: releasing criminals from federal prisons so they can exercise their precious Second Amendment rights on Contards. Baaaaaa ha haha haha ha ha haha
Real strong leadership being displayed by the powers that authorized this ploy. Sad times when our leader resorts to shameful acts to try and punish the other side rather than enacting true leadership when it is most needed. Putting our citizens at risk is the chosen one's choice of leadership. They can be found at the Oscars, the Superbowl, college basketball's first game, making brackets for March madness online, on the view, letterman, leno. They can be found everywhere instead of on Capital Hill negotiating solutions.