U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday hit back at an Associated Press report claiming a top official had resigned just hours after an announcement that several hundred illegal immigrants were released from jail due to budget cuts.
“The Associated Press’ report is inaccurate and misleading," ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said in a statement to TheBlaze. "U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations Gary Mead announced several weeks ago to ICE senior leadership that he planned to retire after 40 years in federal service and 6 years at ICE. As planned, and as shared with ICE staff weeks ago, Mr. Mead will retire at the end of April.”
The AP reported Mead told coworkers in an email he was leaving his post at the end of April. The email was sent on Tuesday, hours after ICE officials announced it had reviewed "several hundred cases" of jailed immigrants and put them on "supervised release" in a cost-cutting effort ahead of federal budget cuts expected to be handed down Friday.
BREAKING: Homeland Security official resigns after release of illegal immigrants blamed on budget cuts
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 27, 2013
The White House and the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE, both said Wednesday they had no advance knowledge or input into the decision before it was announced.
House Speaker John Boehner blasted ICE's decision Tuesday, calling it "outrageous."
"I can’t believe that they can’t find the kind of savings they need out of that department short of letting criminals go free,” Boehner told CBS News.
This post has been updated.