SEPTEMBER 27, 2012
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is going out of its way to protect the privacy of an illegal immigrant who had multiple drunken driving convictions when—under the influence once again—he slammed into a couple’s sports utility vehicle, killing their baby.
Judicial Watch is investigating the horrific event, which took place in New Mexico over the summer, and has requested public records from the DHS agency in charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). JW has confirmed that the illegal immigrant from Honduras, Ramon Hernandez, is in a San Miguel County jail and has been criminally charged.
Hernandez had previously been convicted of driving drunk at least three times, according to local news reports. Yet he remained in the country illegally and in June slammed into the vehicle of a woman, who was seven-months pregnant, and her husband. The injured woman went into labor at the accident scene and doctors later performed an emergency Caesarean section. The baby boy died about a minute later.
To protect the illegal alien’s privacy, ICE refuses to release any public records involving the case. Earlier this month JW submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records related to Hernandez as part of an ongoing probe. Judicial Watch is simply seeking transparency in this matter and will take legal action if necessary.
In refusing to release any information, here is how ICE responded to JW’s request: “Lacking his/her/their explicit consent, an official acknowledgement of an investigation of him/her/them, or an overriding public interest, even to acknowledge the existence of such records pertaining to these individuals could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of his/her/their privacy.” In short, ICE will neither confirm nor deny that the Hernandez case even exists, apparently to guard his privacy. Judicial Watch is appealing.
We know for certain that records exist because the warden of the San Miguel Detention Center where Hernandez is being held confirmed to JW this week that ICE has issued a detainer for him. That means the agency notified local authorities that it intends to assume custody of Hernandez. The big question is why didn’t ICE take action in the Hernandez case three DUI’s ago? Why did he have to commit such an atrocious crime to get the feds’ attention?
A local paper in New Mexico, where the crime occurred, asks “how can someone who’s apparently in the country illegally manage to stay in the US with at least three drunken driving convictions on his record?” How, the piece goes on to ask, did Hernandez manage to avoid deportation? The feds aren’t talking and have blown off numerous requests from the media and JW for comment.
Judicial Watch will ardently pursue transparency just as it did in a similar case involving an illegal alien who murdered a Benedictine nun and critically injured two others in Virginia. The illegal immigrant, Carlos Martinelly-Montano, had an extensive criminal history when, under the influence, he slammed into the nun’s vehicle. On the night he killed the nun, he had a revoked license and was awaiting a deportation ruling.
Judicial Watched sued DHS for records related to the agency’s investigation of the case. A federal court ordered the files released and JW made them public last spring. The DHS report essentially details policies and actions of the Obama Administration and local governments that allowed Montano to remain on the streets despite being subject to deportation.
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