WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press has learned that the Homeland Security Department official in charge of the agency's immigration enforcement and removal operations has retired after hundreds of illegal immigrants were released from jails because of government spending cuts.
In an email obtained Wednesday by the AP, Gary Mead told coworkers that he was leaving U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the end of April. Mead is the head of enforcement and removal operations at ICE.
Mead had told co-workers of his departure in the email sent today, hours after U.S. officials had confirmed that a few hundred illegal immigrants facing deportation had been released from immigration jails due to budget cuts.
President Barack Obama's spokesman said the White House was never consulted but described the immigrants as "low-risk, non-criminal detainees."