Illegal Immigrants Released from Prison Ahead of Sequester

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House has announced that thousands of detainees who are currently facing deportation will be released from jails across the country in an effort to save money.

The announcement comes just as the nation's economy lurks closer to sweeping spending cuts scheduled to go into effect Friday.

ICE was ordered to review the number of detained illegal immigrants to make sure they fall within budget guidelines.

“Over the last week, ICE has reviewed several hundred cases and placed these individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said in a statement. “All of these individuals remain in removal proceedings. Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety.”

Illegal immigrants were released in several border states, including California. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday, “We're doing our very best to minimize the impacts of sequester but there's only so much that I can do."

Napolitano added, “You know, I'm supposed to have 34,000 detention beds for immigration. How do I pay for those?”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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