Rewind the tape to February of 2013, when the Obama administration was ramping up its machinations to make the federal government run as poorly as possible in order to terrify the public about the looming (microscopic) sequester cuts -- which were, we'll remind you, President Obama's own idea. The plan was to make the "consequences" of sequestration as unavoidable and unpalatable as possible -- deliberately at the expense of responsible, priorities-oriented governance. The White House's cynical ploy faltered, as they failed to fool most Americans, and as fact-checkers took them to task for their intentional, endless mendacity. The sequester went into effect, and the earth did not implode. But don't say they didn't try. Team Obama was earnestly committed to hurting as many people as possible as a means of turning voters against the concept of fiscal responsibility. One of their most reckless gambits over the course of their calculated 'parade of horribles' was the mass release of hundreds of illegal immigrants being detained for various reasons. The federal government couldn't afford to hold them any longer, we were informed at the time, thanks to those "draconian" budget cuts:
Federal immigration officials have released hundreds of detainees from detention centers around the country in recent days in a highly unusual effort to save money as automatic budget cuts loom in Washington, officials said Tuesday. The government has not dropped the deportation cases against the immigrants, however. The detainees have been freed on supervised release while their cases continue in court, officials said. But the decision angered many Republicans, including Representative Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia, who said the releases were a political gambit by the Obama administration that undermined the continuing negotiations over comprehensive immigration reform and jeopardized public safety...A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, said the detainees selected for release were “noncriminals and other low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal histories.” Officials said the releases, which began last week and continued on Tuesday, were a response to the possibility of automatic governmentwide budget cuts, known as sequestration, which are scheduled to take effect on Friday.
We're not endangering public safety, the administration insisted. We're only releasing non-violent illegal immigrant detainees. And we're doing it because of these tiny budget cuts, Congress. So take the hint, and cancel the cuts. (Lord knows there wasn't any federal fat to trim that didn't involve flinging open jail doors). Well, USA Today has been digging into this episode and has gathered proof that the administration lied. Surprise:
New records contradict the Obama administration's assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records. The records, obtained by USA TODAY, show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide. The release sparked a furor in Congress. Republican lawmakers accused the Obama administration of setting dangerous criminals free. In response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had released "low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal records," a claim the administration repeated to the public and to members of Congress. The new records, including spreadsheets and hundreds of pages of e-mails, offer the most detailed information yet about the people ICE freed as it prepared for steep, across-the-government spending cuts in February 2013. They show that although two-thirds of the people who were freed had no criminal records, several had been arrested or convicted on charges more severe than the administration had disclosed. ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen acknowledged the discrepancy. She said "discretionary releases made by ICE were of low-level offenders. However, the releases involving individuals with more significant criminal histories were, by and large, dictated by special circumstances outside of the agency's control."
Uh huh. And what, pray tell, were those "special circumstances"? And who was calling those shots? The story reminds readers of the extent of the administration's deceit:
In hearings last year, Republican lawmakers pressed then-ICE Director John Morton for specifics on the criminal records of the people the agency had freed. At one, Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., asked Morton directly, "No one on that list has been charged or convicted with murder, rape or sexual abuse of a minor, were they?" Morton answered, "They were not." He told lawmakers that, to his knowledge, none had faced child pornography charges. White House spokesman Jay Carney similarly described them as "low-risk, non-criminal detainees." A spreadsheet ICE officials prepared listing the detainees includes one person in Texas charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexually assaulting a child, as well as others charged with armed assaults or assaulting police officers. Another immigrant released from Miami had been charged with conspiracy to commit homicide. Two detainees from Boston had been charged with aggravated assault using a weapon. One in Denver had a sexual assault charge.
To review: The Obama administration opposed its own budget cuts, so they bent over backwards to dream up ways of making those reductions as visible as possible, packing as much sting as possible. So they cut loose thousands of detained illegal immigrants, while carefully assuring the public that those released were "low risk non-criminals." That detail was important, they reckoned, because releasing violent criminals of any sort, let alone illegal immigrants, would create a backlash that might complicate their scare tactics. But they did release violent criminals, and they lied about it. Then again, simply releasing thousands of illegal immigrants with criminal records is par for the course; you're just not supposed to know about it. The most transparent administration in history has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal pertinent immigration statistics from inquiring journalists, opting instead to share the information with allied immigration activists. Between this revelation, this disgraceful performance, and Harry Reid's breathtaking irresponsibility regarding the unaccompanied minor border crisis, Democrats are showing themselves to be the veritable definition of bad faith actors as it pertains to immigration reform. That's why many of us who are at least theoretically in favor of a legislative package to addresses our broken system have become jaded. Democrats and the Obama administration cannot be trusted to enforce the law or tell the truth. Working with them to "solve" this problem is quixotic, as they clearly have no intention of solving anything.