303 illegal immigrants released from AZ jails - CBS 5 - KPHO

303 illegal immigrants released from AZ jails

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Since last Thursday 303 illegal immigrants have walked out of Arizona jails as free men and women.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement made the decision to release the detainees because of budget cuts. It costs between $120 and $160 a day to keep each person locked up.

After four months behind bars Cesar Laurenti was released Tuesday.

"I was jumping for joy. I was so happy to know I would be leaving," said Laurenti.

He was picked up after walking to the United States from Guatemala. Laurenti said he came here to have a better life.

"I have fear but I want to comply with all of the laws. I want to live here well, go to court and hope we can have immigration reform so I can stay here safely," said Laurenti.

The federal government confirmed several hundred detainees have been let go from detention centers nationwide over the last week or so.

There is no word on how many more people will be set free. Although the immigrants are not in jail anymore the government maintains it knows where they are.

"They're being released on what's called a supervised release which could mean they would have to check in with a local immigration customs enforcement office or check in by phone. Some of them may have to wear ankle bracelets," said staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center Alvaro Huerta.

Huerta said all of the illegal immigrants who have been released could still be deported. Their cases are pending.

Currently there are still 2,280 illegal immigrants being detained in Arizona jails.

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