SEATTLE, Wash. – When law enforcement agencies do not honor ICE detainers or simple notification requests, the individuals they release, who often have significant criminal histories, are turned out into an unsuspecting community, free to continue their criminal behavior and seek out new victims. Such is the case of Julio Cruz-Velazquez, a citizen of Mexico who is in the United States illegally and now charged with murdering a man, as he lay asleep in his own home, Nov. 3.
Julio Cruz-Velazquez has the aforementioned significant criminal history:
- On Feb. 3, 2000, Cruz-Velazquez was encountered by Border Patrol and voluntarily returned to Mexico the following day. He reentered the United States illegally at an unknown location on an unknown date, without inspection.
- Cruz-Velazquez was arrested three times from 2010-2012 by the Seattle Police Department on local charges including robbery and manufacturing and possessing a controlled substance. On all three occasions he was released prior to ICE having time to lodge a detainer.
- On June 7, 2012, Cruz-Velazquez was arrested by the Seattle Police Department and charged with possession of a stolen vehicle. He was subsequently released on an unknown date, prior to ICE having time to lodge a detainer.
- On Aug. 10, 2015, Cruz-Velazquez was arrested for failure to comply by the Seattle Police Department. He was released, yet again, without ICE having time to lodge a detainer.
- On Nov. 16, 2015, Cruz-Velazquez was convicted of vehicle prowling and sentenced to 364 days in jail and 12 months community service. Cruz-Velazquez was later released on an unknown date.
- On July 27, 2016, Cruz-Velazquez was arrested by the Seattle Police Department and charged with burglary and malicious mischief. He was released, yet again, without ICE having time to lodge a detainer.
- On July 7, 2018, Cruz-Velazquez was arrested by the Tukwila Police Department and charged with rape and domestic violence. On July 9, 2018, ICE lodged a detainer with the King County Jail. The detainer was not honored and the King County Jail released him on an unknown date without notifying ICE.
- On Jan. 4, 2019, Cruz-Velazquez was arrested by the Tukwila Police Department and charged with failure to comply and driving under the influence. On Jan. 7, 2019, ICE lodged a detainer with the King County Jail. The detainer was not honored and the King County Jail released him on an unknown date without notifying ICE.
- On April 4, 2019, Cruz-Velazquez was convicted of assault II-domestic violence.
- On July 10, 2019, Cruz-Velazquez was booked into the Nisqually Jail and charged with a community custody violation. The following day, he was released prior to ICE being able to lodge a detainer.
- On Nov. 7, 2019, Cruz-Velazquez was arrested by the Seattle Police Department and charged with homicide. ICE lodged a detainer the same day with King County Jail.
Because sanctuary policies restrict ICE’s access to local databases, pushing ICE agents out of jails and the associated political pressure discouraging local law enforcement from effectively communicating with federal immigration officials, ICE is often unaware of a criminal alien being in custody prior to them being released. These misguided policies hinder ICE’s ability to lodge immigration detainers in a timely manner.
“Local law enforcement failed the public in this case on multiple occasions,” said Nathalie Asher, Seattle field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations. “Prior to Julio Cruz-Velazquez’s most recent arrest for murder, ICE lodged detainers on him twice. Had those detainers been honored, or had ICE been notified on any of the other multiple occasions he was arrested and released from local jails, we would have taken him into custody. Regrettably, politics continues to prevail over public safety. The detainers were ignored and Cruz-Velazquez was released to the street.”
“Because of this recklessness, a man who immigrated legally to the U.S. has lost his life, allegedly at the hands of a repeat criminal and immigration offender. This is yet another death that could have been prevented, had local law enforcement cooperated with ICE toward the common goal of public safety, as we have so effectively done in years past.”