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“This funding level of beds will allow ICE to detain the current mandatory population, as well as the higher-risk, non-mandatory detainees,” ICE Deputy Director Daniel Ragsdale testified in March.

Ms. Vaughan said that rings hollow if the administration is releasing murderers and other serious criminals even with 34,000 detention beds.

The 36,007 criminal aliens counted in the data had more than 87,000 convictions among them: 15,635 for drunken driving, 9,187 for what ICE labeled “dangerous drugs,” 2,691 for assault, 1,724 for weapons offenses and 303 for “flight escape” — a category that would seem to make them bad candidates for release.

The immigrants are in addition to the 68,000 other immigrants that ICE officers came across but didn’t put into deportation proceedings.

ICE came under fire last year for releasing thousands of immigrants and blaming it on the sequester budget cuts. Among those released were 622 criminals, including 24 with repeated felony convictions so bad that the administration had to go recapture them.

Officials later said it wasn’t the sequester, but rather the regular budget process that caused them to have to release the immigrants. They said they had been running above the 34,000 detention level for too long and would have had to cut detention to average out the numbers.