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The AP reports that the ICE official made the statement in a private meeting with immigration advocates on Wednesday in an effort to defend the construction of temporary holding facilities along the Southwest border. The Associated Press estimates that 41,000 illegal aliens were released into the U.S. and failed to appear for their meetings with federal agents.
The official also said that 860 illegal aliens have been ordered deported, but only 14 have been removed so far.
The Department of Homeland Security and the White House had been asked for specific numbers on removals and relocations into the United States, but failed to answer questions more than a dozen times when asked by reporters.
For more information on the story, see this story.