Napolitano: Not sure why released detainees were in jail in the first place

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michal Conger

Not only was Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano surprised when the people who work for her released hundreds of illegal immigrants this week, but she doesn’t know why those detainees were in jail in the first place, she told ABC News on Thursday.

“That’s a good question. I’ve asked the same question myself,” she admitted. “So we’re looking into it.”

Napolitano also said the release was poorly timed.

“Do I wish that this all hadn’t been done all of a sudden and so that people weren’t surprised by it? Of course,” she said.

But, Napolitano explained, neither she or the White House made the decision to release lower-priority illegal immigrants, a decision immigration officials say they made in response to budget cuts.

“Detainee populations and how that is managed back and forth is really handled by career officials in the field,” she said.

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