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USDHSICE_Top_5_StoriesJamaican freed after 3-year US detention
Sunday, March 03, 2013 | 8:40 AM

STONE MOUNTAIN, Georgia (CMC) – A Jamaican immigrant held in detention for almost three years has expressed delight with his new-found freedom, exclaiming that he’s “free” after United States immigration authorities last week released him and thousands of Caribbean and other immigrants.
“I’m good, man. I’m free!” exclaimed Anthony Orlando Williams, 52, after his release.

Williams, who became an illegal immigrant when he overstayed a visitor’s visa in 1991, said he was detained in 2010 by a sheriff’s deputy in Gwinnett County, Georgia, when authorities discovered that he had violated probation for a 2005 conviction for “simple assault, simple battery and child abuse.”
Williams said the charges emerged from a domestic dispute with his wife at the time.
He said he was transferred to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, and has been fighting a deportation order with the aid of Families for Freedom, a New York-based immigrant support group.
Williams called his detention“a long, long, long run.”
A review of internal US government budget documents has revealed that the US Homeland Security Department, which overseas ICE released more than 2,000 illegal Caribbean and other immigrants facing deportation from immigration detention centres because of budget cuts.
The department also plans to release 3,000 more during March, according to the documents, which show that ICE released about 1,000 illegal immigrants from jails around the country each week since at least February 15.
“As fiscal uncertainty remains over the continuing resolution and possible sequestration, ICE has reviewed its detained population to ensure detention levels stay within ICE’s current budget,” said ICE spokeswoman, Gillian M Christensen, in a statement.
The American Civil Liberties Union said that detaining immigrants is an expensive business, with an average daily cost of US$122 to US$164 per person.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said ICE “will be forced” under sequestration to reduce detention and removal of undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants.
Immigrant rights advocates have long called for ICE to release some detainees, either to allow them to stay in the US or to keep them out of prison-like detention centres until they are deported.
The Obama administration has repeatedly said it will apply more prosecutorial discretion to immigration, releasing immigrants deemed low-priority so it can focus resources on those who are potentially dangerous or otherwise a high priority.

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