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Illegal immigrants released ahead of cuts

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PHOENIX—Authorities say 300 people have been released from immigration detention centers in Arizona as the government gets ready for automatic spending cuts to take effect.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jane Napolitano says across-the-board cuts would impact the department’s operations, including border security, airport screening operations and detaining and housing undocumented immigrants.

Some Republican lawmakers are criticizing the move, saying that essentially criminals are being returned to communities across the nation.

Immigration advocates say those being released pose no threat.

Alessandra Soler-Metz, ACLU, said, “Most of the immigrants that are being released are individuals who pose no threat to public safety. They are people who are not flight risks.”

According to the National Immigration Forum, it costs about $164 a day to keep an undocumented immigrant who is facing deportation jailed.