Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) accused immigration officials of exaggerating the effect of sequestration on their budget after ICE announced they would release hundreds of undocumented immigrants who they could no longer afford to detain in federal facilities. According to ICE officials, the change was necessary due to a looming 5 percent cut in its budget. They added that legal proceedings against the released detainees would still continue.
But Sessions cast doubt on those claims, saying the cuts "could be much more safely and rationally achieved, considering that they will be distributed among such areas as facilities maintenance, equipment maintenance, communications, travel, etc."
“It is clear the Administration is using the sequester as a convenient excuse to bow to political pressure from the amnesty groups, as it did with its unilateral decision to confer legal status on millions who are not lawfully present," Sessions said. "With this new action, the Administration has further demonstrated that it has no commitment to enforcing the law and cannot be trusted to deliver on any future promises of enforcement.”
United We Dream, an immigrant rights group, also criticized the move from the opposite direction. They suggested the move shows that the administration's record high numbers of deportations and detentions are too broadly applied if ICE feels comfortable freeing hundreds of immigrants.