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A trio of Republican senators are raising concerns over a plan to release roughly 2,000 immigrants who have committed crimes from federal jails next month.
The 2,000 immigrants are among 6,000 prisoners the government is releasing — the largest one-time release in U.S. history.
The release is part of an effort to reduce crowding at federal prisions, and to respond to criticism of long prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders, much of which is bipartisan.
But the move has drawn some criticism from the right, and Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report MORE (R-Ariz.), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyFill the Eastern District of Virginia On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress makes technology policy moves MORE (R-Iowa) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSunday shows preview: Supply chain crisis threaten holiday sales; uncertainty over whether US can sustain nationwide downward trend in COVID-19 cases Democratic incumbents bolster fundraising advantage in key Senate races Most Senate Republicans don't want to see Trump run again MORE (R-Wis.) are asking for details from Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson about the immigrants, who are to be released and are expected to be deported.
The senators are asking the administration to detail the exact number of foreign citizens who will be deported, including the government's "precise process" to make sure they are removed from the United States and if DHS and the Justice Department will detain the immigrants prior to deportation.
If the federal government won't hold them, the senators want a handful of details including why not, how many will be eligible for bond or parole, if they'll be released to a city or state, and why they are currently in prison.
They also want a list of countries the U.S. government will try to deport the immigrants to, and how likely the country is to accept them.
Pointing to the death of Grant Ronnebeck in Arizona, the senators said that "recent tragedies have raised widespread concerns regarding the handling of criminal alien cases."
Ronnebeck was killed earlier this year, allegedly by Apolinar Altamirano, an undocumented immigrant who was in the process of being deported but was released from custody after posting bond.
The push for details comes as the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to move forward with a criminal justice reform bill, supported by Grassley, next week. The legislation, which has bipartisan support, includes reductions for mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.
The Republican senators added in their letter that while they support Congress taking up sentencing reform, "we must do so in a responsible manner that does not compromise public safety."