Around 300 illegal immigrants were released from detention centers in Arizona this week as a cost-cutting measure ahead of the sequester, immigration authorities said Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the release was in preparation for the $85 billion in spending cuts that are set to go into effect Friday—and insisted that the only people released had been determined to be a low public-safety risk. The White House insisted Wednesday that it did not order the release, which has already been criticized by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Sen. John McCain, as well as other powerful Republicans, once again setting off a touchy debate in Washington over illegal immigration.
SEQUESTER EFFECTS Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer on Feb. 23. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)