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Hundreds of illegal immigrants to be freed

In this April 5, 2011 file photo, illegal immigrant Viridiana Martinez, right, is comforted by activist Mohammad Abdollahi before Martinez is arrested during a protest for rights for higher education for illegal immigrants that blocked traffic in Atlanta.

In this April 5, 2011 file photo, illegal immigrant Viridiana Martinez, right, is comforted by activist Mohammad Abdollahi before Martinez is arrested during a protest for rights for higher education for illegal immigrants that blocked traffic in Atlanta.

LUMPKIN, Ga. — The federal government released hundreds of illegal immigrants, including those a at South Georgia prison, due to budget pressure as automatic government spending cuts crept closer.

The $85 billion across-the-board budget cuts are due to begin on Friday, and might eventually force the government to scale back on a host of services such as air traffic control, law enforcement and food safety inspections.

"These cuts are wrong. They are not smart. They're not fair. They are a self-inflicted wound that doesn't have to happen," President Barack Obama told workers in Newport News, Virginia Tuesday.

The release of several hundred illegal immigrants due to budget pressures was criticized by the Republican head of the House Judiciary Committee as a political stunt to pressure Congress to put off sequestration.

"It's abhorrent that President Obama is releasing criminals into our communities to promote his political agenda on sequestration," U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte said in a statement.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement released the immigrants while their deportation cases proceed. ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said serious offenders were still being held.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Tuesday that the $60 per-inmate, per-day was one area that would be cut if sequestration hits.

An agreement in Congress would halt the cuts, but with days to go before the ax starts to fall, the two parties do not agree on what to replace them with. There have been hardly any budget talks between the parties since New Year.

Republicans seek different, more targeted, spending cuts than entailed in "sequestration," as the automatic cuts are known in Washington budget parlance. They complain that Obama is overplaying worries about sequestration to promote long-held plans to close tax loopholes.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner accused Obama of using "our military men and women as a prop in yet another campaign rally to support his tax hikes."

Boehner, under pressure by conservatives not to cave to Obama's demand for higher taxes, said members of the Democratic-controlled Senate need to "get off their ass" and pass legislation that would blunt the impact of the cuts.

In the Senate, Republicans struggled to come up with a unified plan for replacing the cuts, with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell saying lawmakers should simply pass a law giving the president flexibility on how the reductions would be carried out. Obama rejected that idea.

In a sign of how far they are from halting sequestration, congressional Republicans and the White House have been trying to blame each other for the cuts, which both Democrats and Republicans agreed to in a 2011 plan to fix an earlier budget crisis.

BLAME SHARED FOR CUTS

"The president's been running around acting like the world's going to end because Congress might actually follow through on an idea he proposed and signed into law - all the while pretending he's somehow powerless to stop it," said McConnell.

Americans blame both Obama and congressional Republicans for the sequestration crisis, according to a Reuters/Ipsos online poll released on Tuesday.

Twenty-five percent of people said Republicans in Congress were responsible for sequestration, 23 percent blamed Obama and 5 percent pointed to congressional Democrats. Thirty percent said all of them were to blame.

With a trip to a defense-heavy region of the country, Obama is seeking to draw attention to how the cuts would play out in communities where the military is a major source of jobs.

Defense spending makes up 9.8 percent of Virginia's gross domestic product.

But sequestration will be brought in gradually, and no shock to the economy is expected on Friday when it starts.

"The impact of this policy won't be felt overnight but it will be real," Obama said. "The longer these cuts are in place the greater the damage."

The planned cuts will be phased in over seven months, giving lawmakers time to halt the worst effects, possibly in budget talks later in March.

But the Obama administration is highlighting a series of cuts to public services which are threatened.

Sequestration might be stopped as part of negotiations next month over another unrelated fiscal issue: a continuing resolution to fund government operations.

But House Republicans think they are in a strong bargaining position as there is not likely to be public outcry when the cuts start, unlike the "fiscal cliff" crisis at the New Year when the threat of tax hikes for most working Americans kept pressure on lawmakers to reach a deal.

The sequestration cuts apply in equal measure to non-defense spending and defense spending.

The reductions will force the Pentagon to put most of its 800,000 civilian employees on unpaid leave for 22 days, slash ship and aircraft maintenance and curtail training, Defense Department officials have told Congress. Pentagon contracting and acquisitions personnel were authorized last week to consult with their industry counterparts about the upcoming spending cuts.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in testimony on Tuesday to the Senate Banking Committee, urged lawmakers to avoid the spending cuts, warning that combined with earlier tax increases it could create a "significant headwind" for the economic recovery.

Comments

waltspecht 1 year, 1 month ago

Chicago Politics at it's best.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 1 month ago

It seems this country is finally falling like Rome did. China is the new world power and we must accept that fact.

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VietVet1 1 year, 1 month ago

How soon can they sign up for welfare and SSI benefits?

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gotanyfacts 1 year, 1 month ago

This is what we get when we elect a president whose ideology trumps the wellbeing of the nation. Obama makes Nixon look like a man of impeccable integrity!

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Bulldawg 1 year, 1 month ago

Obama just relaesed a whole buch of new voters. Democratic party here we come. I know they are not citizens, but that didn't stop illegals from voting in the last election. This is no surprise to me because Obama isn't a US citizen either. Until I see some ironcald evedence that Obama is a US citizen, I will continue to believe that he is not.

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VSU 1 year, 1 month ago

Welfare and food stamps should have been the first things they cut. They did this so they could blame the republicans on it.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 1 month ago

The polls show the reality of the circumstances. Obama and the far right knuckledraggers own this one.

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jglass 1 year, 1 month ago

If they are illegals, put them on a one-way trip to their country, get them out of here. But, we will probably end up feeding them as usual.................. Obama is such a "drama king"!!!

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B4it 1 year, 1 month ago

If Obama and the democratic Senate are neglectful in producing a budget for the past 4 years, and neglectful in meeting with Republicans to work out an acceptable compromise, then the Democrats and liberal media should not point any blame at the Republicans for the sequestering (that Obama and his admin had originally suggested).

This admin has lied to the American people and are trying to do whatever they can to scare the masses into believing they are trying to protect the middle class. But their actions are proving just the opposite. Wake up people, and open your eyes to see the truth.

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bubbavet 1 year, 1 month ago

The ankle bracelets cost us hard working American citizens $240. a month if we are let out. It won't cost them a dime.

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FlunkyMonkey 1 year, 1 month ago

And so it begins...This is a bunch of BS...

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Bulldawg 1 year, 1 month ago

It depends on who you talk to weather it is BS or not. If you are in the wagon you would think it is BS. If you are pulling the wagon, for everyone else, then it is not BS.

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ObjectiveEyes 1 year, 1 month ago

Just another example of the idiots we have running our country. It's time that we clean house in DC. This is beyond ridiculous!

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VSU 1 year, 1 month ago

Is this not more proof that Obuma does not know anything about handling a budget?

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revolutionnow 1 year, 1 month ago

Oh , they are not idiots. They will cut anything and everything except their own salary and benefits. And both parties are guilty.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 1 month ago

Maybe they will wind up sleeping on the White House porch along with that illegal who lives in it.

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