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“It lacks wisdom to take 20 percent of your work force who know how to deal with criminal detainees — experienced officers — and make grapefruit inspectors out of them,” Mr. Poe said.

For example, Mr. Brown said, only 14 new officers were reassigned in June to assist with the jail program for all six of the New England states. The jail program allows ICE agents to root out illegal aliens from being released into the U.S.; instead the violators are extradited back to their home country.

Mr. Brown points to a former illegal alien parolee charged in the early August killing of three New Jersey college students as an example of why more agents are needed. The suspect had been granted bail on child rape charges unknown to immigration officials.

“We don’t have the manpower to do all the checks,” Mr. Brown said. “It’s just not there, and we may see the same situation like Newark happening again.”