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Hundreds of Detained Illegals Freed in Arizona Ahead of Sequester

NOGALES, AZ - FEBRUARY 26: A U.S. Border Patrol agent stands at the U.S.-Mexico border fence on February 26, 2013 in Nogales, Arizona. Various federal agencies are tasked with securing the border from drug smugglers and illegal immigration in the Tucson sector of Arizona. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
NOGALES, AZ – FEBRUARY 26: A U.S. Border Patrol agent stands at the U.S.-Mexico border fence on February 26, 2013 in Nogales, Arizona. Various federal agencies are tasked with securing the border from drug smugglers and illegal immigration in the Tucson sector of Arizona. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

In an almost unbelievable move, the Department of Homeland Security has released hundreds of detained illegal immigrants in anticipation of automatic budget cuts set to take place March 1. 

The release of people scheduled to be deported in Arizona has sparked outrage from officials on both the state and federal levels.

“I’m appalled to learn the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has begun to release hundreds of illegal aliens from custody, the first of potentially thousands to soon be freed under the guise of federal budget cuts,” said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. “This is pure political posturing and the height of absurdity, given that the releases are being granted before the federal sequestration cuts have even gone into effect.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials claim they had no choice but to go ahead with the release of people suspected of being in the country illegally, but they insist that those released are being supervised and still face deportation.

Government and police officials are not the only ones outraged by this move, which many feel is a tactic by the Obama administration to put pressure on political rivals. Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh blasted the president on his February 27 program:

“In what used to be considered, if we can remember this far back, normal, sane times, this is an impeachable offense.  This is in direct violation of the oath of office.  Defend and protect the Constitution of the United States and the people.  We’re opening the doors of prisons before the sequester has even happened, before there have even been any budget cuts.  This is so childish, except the consequences are real for people that live nearby these detention centers.  This is on-the-ground, hard, cold reality.”

The Obama administration, meanwhile, is denying it had any involvement in the decision to release illegal detainees.

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