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The Boston Globe



Release of illegal immigrants wasn’t correct response to sequestration

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano admitted she was surprised by her department’s release of an undisclosed number of low-risk immigrant detainees in an attempt to save money before the federal budget sequestration took hold last week. But the episode, held up by some commentators as a sign of the unpredictable consequences of arbitrary cuts, actually raises more fundamental questions about immigration enforcement.

The first question is why lower-level bureaucrats felt empowered on their own to release detainees who were asylum-seekers, foreign nationals who overstayed their visas, or illegal immigrants who committed minor offenses. As a simple matter of law enforcement, the department should have a clear hierarchy of decision-making, and the decisions about which types of illegal immigrants should be detained and released should be made at a high level.

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