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White House Pushes Back on Democrats' Effort to Cap Jail Space for Immigrants

© Sputnik / Ekaterina ChesnokovaWhite House in Washington, DC
White House in Washington, DC - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The law enforcement agencies throughout the United States will be forced to set free violent undocumented alien criminals into the public if Democrats in the US Congress succeed in capping the number of beds allowed in detention facilities, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Deputy Director Matt Albin told reporters.

"If we are forced to live within a cap based on interior arrests we will immediately be forced to release criminal aliens that are currently sitting in our custody", Albin said on Monday. "We’ll be releasing gang members. We’ll be releasing individuals convicted of crimes of domestic violence and drug crimes and we’ll be limited in our ability to respond to state and local law enforcement agencies that are making arrests for these very crimes today".

Albin was referring to a House of Representatives-Senate conference that is attempting to reach a compromise over illegal immigration that threatens to shut down the US federal government on Friday for the second time this year, following a record 35-day shutdown that began in December.

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On Sunday, talks broke off when Democrats introduced a new demand, a cap of 16,500 beds in ICE detention centers, compared with 42,000 beds at present and an administration push to increase space to more than 50,000 beds.

The facilities at issue are for illegal aliens captured throughout the United States as opposed to arrests made at or near the southern US border that have dominated headlines.

Democrats on the 17-member conference say the cap is needed to force the Trump administration to focus on catching violent criminal aliens instead of conducting roundups that also sweep up undocumented immigrants with no history of violence.

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Albin said that supporters of a bed cap are buying into efforts by some Democrats to abolish ICE and using a back door strategy through the budget process.

US President Donald Trump has widely criticized the US immigration system and pledged to stop the flow of undocumented immigrants in the United States. The president has also warned to close the southern border for all migrants if the problem of illegal border crossing, which he says is intertwined with drug and human trafficking, is not resolved.

Trump said Monday that congressional Democrats would be responsible if another federal government shutdown occurs after 15 February.

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"That’s up to the Democrats", Trump said when asked whether another federal government shutdown may possibly take place.

Trump noted that congressional funding to construct a border wall at the US border with Mexico continues to be the issue of his dispute with Democrats that led to the last government shutdown.

"We need a wall [but] they do not want to give us a space to detain murderers, criminals, drug dealers", Trump said, referring to attempts by congressional Democrats to cap number of beds for apprehended illegal aliens.

In this March 26, 2012 photo, an inmate belonging to the Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 gang stands inside the prison in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador. Six months after El Salvador brokered an historic truce between two rival gangs to curb the nation's daunting homicide rate, officials are split over whether the truce actually works. The gangs, which also operate in Guatemala and Honduras, are seeking truce talks in those countries as well. - Sputnik International
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The last shutdown of more than a month — from December — January — was the longest in the US history and affected more than 800,000 federal workers and contractors.

US lawmakers temporarily re-opened the federal government for a three-week period until 15 February for the bipartisan House-Senate Conference Committee on Homeland Security to negotiate a deal on border security that is supposed to include funding for constructing a border wall.

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