Rep. Issa to investigate release of illegal immigrants following Babeu letter

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- California Congressman Darrell Issa has announced that he will be launching a formal investigation into the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to release several thousand illegal immigrants in response to the federal budget cuts that have gone into effect.

Issa, who is the Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, made his announcement on Tuesday.

On Monday, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu sent a letter to Issa’s office requesting that he investigate the matter.

Babeu first spoke about the release of thousands of illegal immigrants at the end of last month when he sent out a press release stating that more than 500 detainees had been released in Pinal County.

Babeu subsequently sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano asking for information about the individuals who were released.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said they were told by Immigration and Customs Enforcement supervisors that Napolitano would not be supplying the information that Babeu had requested.

PCSO added that they had also learned that ICE supervisors had been telling employees that they may be fired if they speak to a third party about the decision to release detainees.

Gov. Jan Brewer has also taken issue with the DHS's decision, saying at the end of last month that the move was “pure political posturing.”

Federal officials have stated that the immigrants released were low-risk individuals who were placed on “an appropriate, more cost-effective form of supervised release.”

PCSO said they were informed by “whistle blowers” that some of the immigrants released had criminal records that included charges of manslaughter, child molestation, aggravated assault, and drug offenses.