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CNN Political Unit
Published: 28 February 2013

Two outspoken Arizona voices against illegal immigration blasted federal authorities' recent release of hundreds of undocumented immigrants because of the impending federal spending cuts.

Gov. Jan Brewer and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said in separate interviews on CNN's "The Situation Room" that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency did not notify their offices when it moved some detainees out of detention and into less expensive supervised release programs.

"This is a criminal element that the federal administration has decided to release into the communities," the Republican governor said. "It's wrong and it's outrageous and it's appalling to do something of this magnitude and not contact myself or my homeland security people."Babeau compared the release to recent federal government scandals where Republicans have blasted the Obama administration for judgment failures, including a botched gun-running sting and an attack last year on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya

"It's the same storyline we've heard with Operation Fast and Furious, with Benghazi and now when hundreds of criminal illegals are let loose in my community, many of which were not even arrested here, and then we hear these excuses and pointing of fingers," he said. "I'm tired of hearing excuses."

The Benghazi attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans and a gun involved in the Fast and Furious program was found near the site where a U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot.

ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said those released did not have criminal records or were considered low-risk.

"Detainees with serious criminal histories are a detention priority and have not been released," she said in a statement.

The sheriff said it was "laughable" that those released had not committed more serious crimes, adding that they would have little incentive to comply with their conditions of release.

"To think that somehow we could provide supervised release on people who have no incentive to report in to the authorities, no incentive to comply with their release," he said. "They'll cut their ankle bracelet, because what's the worse that can happen? You're going to deport them? I mean that's the reality of this."

The likelihood of these undocumented immigrants committing crimes in the future is "very high," he said.

The Department of Homeland Security has said the decision was made by career officials rather than political appointees and without the knowledge of DHS headquarters.

-- CNN's Gregory Wallace contributed to this report

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