Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in February released hundreds of illegal immigrants with criminal records, a supposedly unintentional result of the department's sequester preparations.
The shocking news was revealed by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich).
“Of the 2,226 detainees that were released in February, the department revealed, ‘622 have been identified as having some type of criminal conviction,’” FOX News reports.
And of the 622 detainees with criminal backgrounds, at least 32 have multiple felony convictions.
ICE, obviously realizing the seriousness of its error, claims to have re-apprehended 24 of the 32 detainees guilty of committing felonies.
The agency said at the time of the release that it was a necessary preparation for the March 1 automatic spending cuts.
Sen. McCain says those responsible should be punished.
"ICE's reprehensible actions put Arizona at risk by setting free into our communities hundreds of detainees who were guilty of criminal offenses," he said. "The ICE officials responsible for this must face disciplinary action and must take all actions necessary to ensure that this never happens again."
But what kind of crimes are we talking about? The FOX report offers some details:
One of them released in Phoenix had a second-degree robbery conviction and convictions for prostitution and solicitation for lewd conduct.
Another had been convicted of an "extreme" case of driving under the influence, harassment, and causing criminal damage to property. And yet another had prior convictions for carrying a gun, felony possession of drugs, burglary, vandalism and trespassing.
ICE defended itself Thursday by claiming, "these decisions were made on a case-by-case basis, by career law enforcement officials in the field, in order to ensure that ICE maintained sufficient resources to detain serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety through the end of the continuing resolution."
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Featured image Getty Images. This post has been updated.