More than 200 illegal immigrants were released from detention facilities in the state of Arizona between February and March of 2013. A significant portion of them were in custody for committing violent crimes.
The conservative watchdog organization Judicial Watch announced in a press release concerning its successful Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, Edward “Bud” Tuffly v U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), that almost 260 illegal immigrants were released from federal custody from February 22 through March 15, 2013. Judicial Watch filed the FOIA lawsuit in January after DHS did not respond to Tuffly’s request in November. Tuffly, a Tucson, Ariz., resident, sought the following information:
- Records sufficient to identify all ICE detainees released in late February or early March 2013 from the following detention facilities due to alleged fiscal or budget uncertainty: (a) Central Arizona Correctional Center in Florence, Arizona: (b) Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, Arizona; (c) Florence Correctional Center in Florence, Arizona; (d) Florence SPC in Florence, Arizona; and (e) Pinal County Adult Detention Center in Florence, Arizona.
- For each detainee identified in response to Request No.1, the I-213 form(s) documenting the detainee’s arrest.
- For each detainee identified in response to Request No.1, records sufficient to identify: (a) the date the detainee was released; (b) the facility from which the detainee was released; (c) the detainee’s criminal history or criminal charges at the time of release; (d) methods of supervision to which the detainee was subjected; and (e) whether the detainee appeared for subsequent removal or other proceedings and/or was removed from the United States
Those released in Arizona were part of the more than 2,000 illegal aliens the Obama administration released in 2013. At first, the administration denied the release took place; but John Morton, then-director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told a House subcommittee that the 2,228 illegal immigrants were released for “solely budgetary reasons.”
Almost one in five of the illegal immigrants released from Arizona detention facilities had been arrested for drunk driving. Other crimes range from other traffic offenses and shoplifting to crimes as egregious as domestic violence and weapons offenses. The Obama administration will not disclose the names of the illegal immigrants released, “which prevents law enforcement from protecting the public or notifying victims,” the Judicial Watch press release said.
“The Obama administration is obsessed with supporting nationwide sanctuary and unlawful amnesty for illegal aliens – even illegal aliens who have committed violent crimes,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said. “These new documents show the Obama administration’s soft-on-crime approach to illegal alien crime is a clear and present danger to the safety of innocent Americans.”