GOP senators demand details on release of illegal detainees

Senate Republicans introduced an amendment on Thursday that would require Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to turn over more details about the hundreds of illegal immigrants it released from detention centers last month.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyHigh stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown Grassley raises voice after McConnell interrupts Senate speech MORE, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced the amendment to the Senate’s continuing resolution bill moving through the upper chamber, garnering the support of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats The national emergency will haunt Republicans come election season Trump: McConnell should keep Senate in session until nominees are approved MORE (Ky.) and Sens. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOn The Money: Trump to sign border deal, declare emergency to build wall | Senate passes funding bill, House to follow | Dems promise challenge to emergency declaration Trump to sign border deal, declare national emergency Foreign Affairs chairman: US military intervention in Venezuela 'not an option' MORE (Okla.), David VitterDavid Bruce VitterBottom Line Bottom Line Top 5 races to watch in 2019 MORE (La.), John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanGOP senators read Pence riot act before shutdown votes On The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions MORE (Ark.), Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsGOP senators offer praise for Klobuchar: 'She’s the whole package' The Hill's Morning Report - House Dems prepare to swamp Trump with investigations The Hill's Morning Report — Will Ralph Northam survive? MORE (Kan.) and Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsEx-Trump official says intel community's testimony interfered in US-North Korea talks Is a presidential appointment worth the risk? Intel agencies' threat assessment matters more than tiff with Trump MORE (Ind.).

“When ICE recently released thousands of illegal immigrants from detention facilities, it was pretty clear that the administration didn’t have control of the situation and didn’t consider the ramifications to public safety,” Grassley (Iowa) said in a statement.

“The administration has a constitutional duty to faithfully uphold the laws, and when they don’t, the American people deserve an explanation.”

Ahead of the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts that set in earlier this month, ICE officials released as many as 2,000 illegal immigrants from detention centers, primarily in the Southwest, and placed them on a supervised monitoring program. The program, Alternative to Detention, began under the George W. Bush administration as a less expensive option to housing illegal immigrants in the midst of deportation proceedings.

The White House has said career ICE officials made the recent move in an attempt to balance their budgets with the impending funding cuts fast approaching. The administration says that only low-risk illegal immigrants were released onto the program.

According to Grassley’s office, the GOP amendment would require ICE to give lawmakers more details about the number of illegal immigrants, the nature of their original crimes, their immigration status and the terms of their release. The measure would also force ICE to submit a budget report to the Appropriations and Judiciary committees about how the agency plans to maintain the congressionally mandated 34,000 detention beds.