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McCain demands answers on illegals

| Friday, March 8, 2013, 7:48 p.m.

PHOENIX — Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said on Friday that some of the more than 2,000 illegal immigrants recently released by the Homeland Security Department because of budget cuts may have been convicted of serious crimes, citing “local sources.”

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, McCain demanded new information on the release of the detainees, who were facing deportation, including the details of their criminal records.

The senator said there's a possibility some of them had committed serious crimes such as smuggling, narcotics trafficking and child molestation.

Federal officials maintain those released were nonviolent criminals and low-risk offenders. The states in which immigrants were freed include Arizona, California, Georgia and Texas.

McCain wants Napolitano to make public the criteria used to determine which detainees were released and how many had been convicted of serious crimes.

He also raised questions about whether budget cuts have prompted Border Patrol agents to quickly release newly detained illegal immigrants.

McCain requested answers by March 18.

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