Feb 27 2013

Salon: Slashing food assistance and education for poor was OK. But releasing undocumented immigrants is outrage

While the Obama administration has been issuing dire warnings about the effects of the impending sequestration deal, Republicans have been more sanguine, apparently happy to reduce the deficit and try to blame the president for the pain the cuts will cause.

But of all the hundreds of government programs on the chopping block, one rose above the others to demand unique outrage from GOP leaders, as the Hill reports:

Republicans are condemning the Obama administration’s decision to release several hundred illegal immigrants from detention facilities because of possible funding cuts from the sequester.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) blasted the move and said he would be looking for more information. “This is very hard for me to believe that they can’t find cuts elsewhere in their agency,” he said in an interview set to air Tuesday night on CBS. “I frankly think this is outrageous. And I’m looking for more facts, but I can’t believe that they can’t find the kind of savings they need out of that department short of letting criminals go free.”

Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called the releases “abhorrent” and a threat to public safety. While Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions said the move is “a convenient excuse to bow to political pressure from the amnesty groups.”

All of those released were being held for nonviolent offenses related to immigration violation — not hardened criminals who happened to be picked up for immigration issues — and they will all remain in removal proceedings under “supervised release” (meaning they’ll be given ankle bracelets or have other means of being kept tabs on).

Just to put this in some perspective, Republican lawmakers have hurled nowhere near this kind of rhetoric for the other painful things sequestration will do.

No Republican has called it “abhorrent” that, for example, 4 million meals won’t be delivered to seniors through Meals on Wheels; that few food inspectors will make the food system less safe; that cuts to research programs could set back scientific research for a generation; that tens of thousands of kids will be kicked out of Head Start programs; that tens of thousands of homeless people will be kicked out of shelters; that almost 400,000 seriously mentally ill people will lose services; or that 600,000 women and children will be dropped from WIC.

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