To be sure, immigration record keeping and reporting are so poor in the United States that entire academic departments make their hay out of squeezing ICE for information and then analyzing the data for public consumption. When a nonpartisan immigration think tank released a report about ICE's work on the border recently, one person at the center suggested with a sigh that the report told a powerful tale that the agency had largely failed to tell itself.
Yet the lack of detailed information from ICE about its detainee policy has only added fuel to the questions and criticisms surrounding the detainee release.
Here it what is known so far about the release – from the terminology ICE uses for illegal immigrants to a glimpse into the kinds of people ICE has released.
The detainee controversy comes after other moves by the Obama administration. Since early in the Obama presidency, ICE has used greater discretion in deciding whom to target for deportation, focusing on those deemed higher risks to public safety. And last year, the administration set up a program that allows young illegal immigrants who were brought to the US as children to be eligible for work permits.