ICE Director Had Other Options Before Releasing Detainees

ICE Director John Morton / AP

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton told the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday that he could have avoided releasing 2,228 illegal immigrant detainees if he heeded Congress’s measures to help ease sequestration cuts, according to the Washington Examiner:

"We can seek reprogramming requirements, that is absolutely true, Mr. Chairman, and we did not in this instance," Morton told House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., during a hearing this afternoon. "I did not want to rob Peter to pay Paul. My view is that we need to maintain the operations of the agency, I did not want to furlough people, and my view is that I need to make rational decisions across the [agency accounts]. […]

"We sent out on Feb. 28 a letter to every Cabinet officer asking them what changes they’d like to have — pluses, subtractions and so on — to give them an opportunity to show us at least one program they would like to have cut, which would then save on sequestration," Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told The Washington Examiner’s Byron York. "We did not receive a single answer."

The mandatory budget cuts, known as sequester, require ICE to endure a $300 million budget reduction "over the seven remaining months of the fiscal year."