ICE released more than 600 detainees with criminal records - FOX Carolina 21

UPDATE

ICE released more than 600 detainees with criminal records

Posted: Updated:
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

According to a new letter released to Sen. John McCain's office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers released 622 people with criminal records back in February.

The Obama administration claimed the controversial move was because of budget cuts faced by ICE because of sequestration.

"ICE's reprehensible actions put Arizona at risk by setting free into our communities hundreds of detainees who were guilty of criminal offenses," said McCain.

"The ICE officials responsible for this must face disciplinary action and must take all actions necessary to ensure that this never happens again," he continued.

The letter stated that 112 of those released had either level one or level two felony convictions. McCain's office said those convictions include extreme DUI, felony possession of drugs, vandalism and trespassing. CBS 5 News has confirmed at least one person released here in Arizona is a level one felon convicted of second-degree robbery.

ICE officials said they reviewed all of the level one and two releases and decided to "re-detain" 58 people that had initially been released.

In a statement to CBS 5 News, Virginia Kice, the Western regional communications director for ICE, said the department had to make a decision on how to best manage resources provided by Congress.

"As fiscal uncertainty remained (...) ICE officials identified and released detained individuals who posed no significant threat to public safety, were not subject to mandatory detention and who were appropriate candidates for supervised release," she stated.

To see the letter given to McCain's office, click here.

Arizona Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema is calling for disciplinary action.

"This is a wakeup call for Congress," Sinema said. "Instead of coming together to fix the budget, the status quo pushed for partisan games, resulting in a non-solution known as sequestration. We in Arizona fought to strengthen law enforcement resources but lost out to business as usual. It's not good enough; I don't accept it and Arizona deserves better. I challenge my colleagues to come together right away to fix the misguided budget cuts and restore resources to ICE."

Stay with cbs5az.com for updates on this developing story.

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