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Report: White House didn't OK immigrant releases

Published:Thursday | August 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
This June 2014 photo shows a temporary shelter for unaccompanied minors who have entered the United States illegally at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. - AP

WASHINGTON (AP):

An internal Homeland Security Department report says immigration officials decided on their own, strictly for budget reasons, to release more than 2,000 immigrants facing deportation in 2013.

Without consulting then Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano or the White House, the agency ultimately freed 2,228 people. The lack of communication led the Obama administration to wrongly deny for weeks that so many people had been released. That's according to a Homeland Security inspector general's report on Tuesday.

The report also outlined that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials didn't adequately plan for the increase in immigrant arrests at the Mexican border and didn't track available funds or spending accurately.

The Associated Press reported in March 2013 that more than 2,000 immigrants were released. The White House and Homeland Security Department for weeks disputed AP's reporting.