(AZ Central) — More than a third of the 342 illegal immigrants released from detention facilities in Arizona last month were convicted criminals, and one of them was categorized as a Level 1 offender, the highest risk, according to data released by the federal government Friday.
The new information also showed that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released more people in the state than the 303 originally indicated by ICE, and for higher-level offenses, said Matthew Benson, spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer.
“This has become a moving target in terms of information provided by the federal government from the very start,” Benson said.
ICE officials refused to provide additional details about the criminal background of the Level 1 offender released in Arizona or to say why that person was released.
Benson said the agency so far has refused to provide all the information Brewer requested in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on March 1.
Some Republicans also said the release of immigration detainees could hurt bipartisan efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year that includes a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants
The figures for Arizona were announced a day after ICE Director John Morton testified during a House subcommittee hearing that, nationally, 2,228 illegal immigrants were released during a three-week period beginning Feb. 9, far more than the several hundred people ICE officials originally said were released.
H/T Weasel Zippers