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The Associated Press has learned that the Homeland Security Department released more than 2,000 illegal immigrants facing deportation from immigration jails in recent weeks because of looming budget cuts. It also planned to release 3,000 more during March.

The newly disclosed figures, cited in internal government budget documents reviewed by the AP, are significantly higher than what the Obama administration acknowledged this week as a “few hundred” illegal immigrants who were released under the budget-savings process.

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