A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official has told The Daily Caller that the agency only has enough space to hold approximately one in ten suspected illegal aliens that it processes. The rest must be released because of a lack of beds in holding facilities.
Yet the current budget proposal from the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE, calls for a reduction — not an increase — in the number of beds in those facilities.
“ICE only has 34,000 detention beds and over 300,000 individuals in removal proceedings,” said an ICE official who requested anonymity. The rest are given bonds or tracking devices, or simply released on their own recognizance.
In a Feb. 23 op-ed, Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith responded to the proposed cut in ICE’s capacity to keep suspected illegal aliens in custody.
“Under his budget for 2013, Mr. Obama reduces the number of detention bed spaces by 1,200 beds — from 34,000 to 32,800,” Smith noted. “The administration proposes using the resulting funds to enhance its alternatives-to-detention programs. But these programs result in higher levels of illegal immigrants disappearing into American communities.”