SEATTLE – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) relies upon the cooperation of local law enforcement officials to expeditiously remove dangerous criminals from our communities. ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations’ (ERO) mission is to identify, arrest and remove aliens who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety.
When ICE officers and agents must go out into the community to proactively locate these criminal aliens, it puts personnel and potentially innocent bystanders at risk. ICE commends our local law enforcement colleagues who work to make it less complicated for ICE to apprehend criminal aliens released from local custody.
“When local law enforcement decides to uphold sanctuary policies and release illegal criminal aliens without notifying ICE, it is a decision to protect and release criminals who are preying on victims in our communities. By allowing criminal aliens, particularly those with egregious criminal records, to be released it places everyone in potential danger. Danger that very well could be prevented through cooperation with immigration officials”, said Bryan Wilcox, acting field operations director, ERO Seattle.
Without the cooperation of local officials, EROs ability to perform its federally mandated mission is hindered and dangerous criminal aliens, like those described below, could remain in our communities to re-offend. The expeditious removal of these offenders promotes public safety and reduces the overall cost to taxpayers.
- Illegal alien arrested for murdering, dismembering victim after local police fail to notify ICE of his release
In October 2017, ICE identified an illegally present Honduran citizen with prior criminal convictions and four prior removals from the United States and lodged a detainer. The alien was then released by local authorities without notification to ICE. In January 2018, he was arrested and booked at a local county jail for murder. ICE has lodged another detainer with local jail officials.
- County jail ignores ICE detainer, illegal alien suspected of killing wife after release
In March 2018, ICE lodged a detainer on a citizen of Mexico who was unlawfully present in the United States after locating him in an Oregon county jail. Jail officials did not honor the immigration detainer and released the convicted criminal two days later, without notifying ICE. Following his release, ICE made multiple, unsuccessful attempts to locate and arrest the man. In October 2018, the subject was arrested again, this time on a felony murder charges.
- County jail ignores ICE detainer, Honduran mans suspected of murder after release
In September 2016, ICE located an illegally present Honduran man with multiple prior criminal convictions being held at a county jail in Washington. ICE lodged a detainer with the jail, but in February 2017, county officials did not honor the detainer and released the man. In July 2017, the subject was again arrested, this time for theft and property destruction. In July 2017, despite criminal charges, convictions and previous immigration removals going back to 2005, county jail officials released the main without notifying ICE. In August 2017, the criminal alien was arrested yet again, this time for homicide and robbery. As of June 2019, the subject was in a local county jail and is being held on both murder and robbery charges.
- County jail releases illegal alien, man later kills wife and self in apparent murder-suicide
In December 2016, ICE located and lodged a detainer on a man being held in a county jail in Washington. The man was a Mexican citizen who was illegally present in the U.S. and had prior immigration encounters. Local jail officials did not honor the immigration detainer and released the convicted criminal in August 2017 without notifying ICE. A little over a month later, the subject shot and killed his estranged wife before taking his own life.
- County jail refuses to honor immigration detainer, releases child rapist
In January 2014, ICE encountered an illegally present citizen of Honduras at a county jail in Kent, Washington. The man was being held on a charge of rape of a child. ICE officers interviewed the man and determined that he was a citizen of Honduras and lodged an immigration detainer. That same month, the immigration detainer was not honored, and the subject was released to the community pending the disposition of his case. In August 2015, the subject was convicted of multiple counts of assault. In February 2017, ICE took the man into custody and removed him from the U.S. in March 2017.
- County jail refuses to honor ICE detainer, releases illegal alien convicted of rape
In June 2013, ICE officers encountered a man at a local county jail in Kent, Washington. ICE officers determined the subject was a citizen of Mexico and lodged an immigration detainer. The subject was later convicted of rape and sentenced to more than a year in jail. After completion of his sentence, the Department of Corrections transferred the man to a local county jail on warrants for driving while impaired and violating a no contact order. In February 2014, ICE lodged a subsequent detainer at the county jail. The detainer was not honored, and that same month, he was released to the community. In July 2014, ICE took the individual into custody, and the subject was removed to Mexico in May 2015.
- County jail refuses to honor ICE detainer of man who sexually assaulted dog
In February 2019, an illegally present Mexican citizen was encountered by ICE officials at a local Oregon county jail. ICE lodged an immigration detainer on the man the same day for violating immigration laws. In April 2019, the man was convicted of multiple charges involving animal abuse. The county jail did not honor the immigration detainer and released him without notice to immigration officials. ICE apprehended the man at his residence and served him a notice to appear. He is currently being held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma pending immigration proceedings.
A detainer is a request to local law enforcement agencies that ICE be notified as early as practicable – ideally at least 48 hours – before a removable alien is released from criminal custody and then briefly maintain custody of the alien for up to 48 hours to allow ICE to assume custody for removal purposes. ICE lodges detainers on individuals who have been arrested on local criminal charges and are suspected of being deportable, so that ICE can take custody of that person when he or she is released from local authorities. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission.
ICE maintains that cooperation by local officials is an indispensable component of promoting public safety. Policymakers who strive to make it more difficult to remove dangerous criminal aliens and aim to stop the cooperation of local officials and business partners, harm the very communities whose welfare they have sworn to protect.