Senior DHS official announces retirement after immigrants are freed

An undocumented immigrant is escorted at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement holding facility before being deported in Phoenix

Last night ON THE RECORD at 10pm/ET we told you about the Department of Homeland Security releasing hundreds of illegal immigrants from detention due to the looming sequester (CLICK HERE to watch our interview with Pinal County, AZ Sheriff Paul Babeu about this). Now a senior DHS official is retiring…read the AP report below and post your thoughts!

DHS OFFICIAL RETIRES AFTER IMMIGRANTS ARE FREED

By Alicia A. Caldwell, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The senior Homeland Security Department official in charge of arresting and deporting illegal immigrants announced his retirement the same day the agency said that hundreds of people facing deportation had been released from immigration jails due to looming budget cuts, according to a letter obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press. The government said he had told his bosses weeks ago that he planned to retire.

Gary Mead, executive associate director over enforcement and removal operations at Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, disclosed his departure in an email to his staff Tuesday afternoon. The announcement of the release of the illegal immigrants had come earlier in the day.

President Barack Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, said Wednesday that the decision to release the immigrants was made without any input from the White House. He described the immigrants as “low-risk, non-criminal detainees.”

The announcement that a few hundred illegal immigrants were being released was among the most significant and direct implications described so far by the Obama administration about the pending, automatic budget cuts that will take effect later this week under what is known as sequestration.

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