JUNE 24, 2008
A local police department in Rhode Island is playing a pathetic blame game with federal immigration officials regarding a violent, previously deported illegal immigrant who never the less remained in the U.S. to commit an atrocious crime.
Providence police officials say they contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after arresting the illegal immigrant, Marco Riz, on separate occasions but the federal agency didn’t bother taking any action to have Riz sent back to his native Guatemala even though he had violated a previous deportation order.
ICE officials maintain that Providence officers never checked the man’s legal status after arresting him twice, for driving under the influence of liquor and drugs and a few months later for domestic assault. This allowed him to continue living in the area long enough to kidnap and rape a woman.
Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman calls the government’s accusations against his department an attempt to find blame. He points out that for two decades his department has faxed federal immigration officials a list of suspects who have been charged with serious crimes and that his gang prevention unit routinely calls ICE to check the immigration status of suspects.
ICE counters that Providence police rarely use the agency’s computer system to check a suspect’s immigration status and that Chief Esserman has come under attack for saying that he is not willing to check the status of all suspected illegal immigrants because its important for police to develop trusting relationships with immigrants—legal or not—to solve crimes.
This inexcusable finger pointing should not distort the bottom line; an illegal immigrant with a documented violent history was allowed to remain in the country to commit a heinous crime against an innocent American. Only now, after being charged with kidnapping, carjacking, assault with a dangerous weapon, first-degree robbery and first-degree sexual assault will this illegal immigrant finally get deported.
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