SEPTEMBER 09, 2008
For the third time in as many months local police and federal authorities have engaged in a pathetic blame game over previously arrested illegal immigrants who committed atrocious crimes after being released rather than deported.
In all three tragic cases, local law enforcement officials claim they notified Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) so that the federal agency could put a hold on the suspect. And, in all three cases, ICE says it was never notified by local police. The negligence resulted in six murders and a rape.
Who are Americans supposed to believe? Local law enforcement agencies in different parts of the country—Rhode Island, California and Colorado—with similar stories of getting blown off by the feds or the agency long under fire for its lax enforcement of crucial immigration laws?
Let’s take a look at the latest example in which an illegal immigrant who had been arrested 16 times by seven different local police departments throughout Colorado was repeatedly freed. Last week he murdered two women and a toddler in Aurora after running a red light and slamming into the women’s pickup truck. The violent impact pushed the truck more than 100 feet into a nearby ice cream shop where the 3-year-old boy was enjoying his favorite flavor.
Aurora Police officials say they alerted U.S. immigration in April that the man (Francis Hernandez) was an illegal immigrant after arresting him for speeding and driving without a license. But the feds refused to detain him and, according to Aurora Police, that is the norm. The department said that, of more than 2,500 referrals to ICE last year, the agency responded only a fraction of the time.
ICE says it has no record of Aurora Police contacting it about the Guatemalan national in April. In fact, an agency spokesman unequivocally said that Hernandez has “never been referred to ICE before” the recent triple fatality.
This sort of local-federal feud is starting to develop a powerful stench. In July federal immigration authorities and San Francisco law enforcement officials blamed each other for dropping the ball in the case of a convicted gang banger who murdered a man and his two sons shortly after being arrested for a separate crime.
The El Salvador national had twice been convicted of felonies but never deported. Not long before gunning down the man and his sons with an assault rifle, the illegal alien had been arrested by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department which claimed that his immigration status was checked on a national database and that federal officials were notified because he was considered deportable.
Sheriff’s officials said that ICE specifically told them they would not detain the violent illegal immigrant offender and they were forced to release him. ICE, on the other hand, denied that San Francisco authorities notified the agency of the arrest.
A similar saga played out in June between ICE and the Providence Police Department when a previously deported illegal immigrant with a violent history kidnapped and raped a local woman. Providence Police officials assured that they contacted ICE after arresting the thug on separate occasions before the rape but the federal agency refused to deport the man to his native Guatemala, even though he had violated a previous deportation order.
ICE officials maintained that Providence officers never checked the man’s legal status after separate arrests for driving under the influence of liquor and drugs and domestic assault. That mishap allowed him to continue living in the area long enough to kidnap and rape the woman.
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