House Republicans grilled the Obama administration’s top immigration official on Tuesday for releasing more than 2,000 illegal immigrants from detention facilities.

Republicans accused the administration of playing politics and balked at why Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton didn’t ask Congress to move money from another part of the agency to better fund its detention efforts.

Morton stressed that career agency officials made the decision to release 2,228 illegal immigrants in February and place them on supervised monitoring programs in an effort to decrease operational costs in the agency ahead of the vast budget cuts under sequestration.

Morton said he was reluctant to ask Congress to reprogram the agency’s funding because he would have had to take money away from the domestic investigations division — the second largest within ICE — which pursues the illegal movement of people and goods, such as child pornographers, human and sex traffickers, and drug smugglers.