Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) called an Associated Press report “inaccurate and misleading,” in response to an article stating that Gary Mead, ICE’s Enforcement Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations, resigned shortly after the news that ICE had released immigrant detainees due to budget cuts.
“Gary Mead – disclosed his departure in an email to his staff Tuesday afternoon. The announcement of the release of the illegal immigrants had come earlier in the day,” reported the AP, which also reported Mead did not give a reason for his departure in the e-mail and said he was leaving with “mixed emotions.”
In a statement, Gillian Christensen, ICE Deputy Press Secretary, said the connection between Mead’s resignation and the detainees’ release was not accurate. “Gary Mead announced several weeks ago to ICE senior leadership that he planned to retire after 40 years in federal service and 6 years at ICE,” stated Christensen, adding, “As planned, and as shared with ICE staff weeks ago, Mr. Mead will retire at the end of April.”
A few days ago ICE confirmed that hundreds of immigrant detainees who did not pose serious risks or criminal records were being released from different detention centers in several states.
In a statement, ICE said that “as fiscal uncertainty remains over the continuing resolution and possible sequestration, ICE has reviewed its detained population to ensure detention levels stay within ICE’s budget.” ICE’s Gillian Christensen stated that over the last week, it had reviewed several hundred cases and placed some individuals on methods of supervision which were less costly than detention.
Some immigrants rights groups said that releases of detainees should not come due to budget cuts. “It shouldn’t take a manufactured crisis in Washington to prompt our immigration agencies to actually take steps towards using government resources wisely or keeping families together,” according to United We Dream’s Carolina Canizales.