Durham, North Carolina- Another day, another story about an illegal immigrant committing a violent crime.
This time it occurred in Durham, North Carolina, according to Breitbart News. Of course Durham County is a so-called “sanctuary county”, another word for a safe haven for law breaking illegal aliens to take up residence.
In this case it was Jose Bryan Guzman from El Salvador, accused of murdering 19-year-old Marlene Yamileth Portillo-Posada on August 24. Police say Portillo-Posada was strangled to death because Guzman believed she was cheating on him.
Guzman left North Carolina and went to Louisiana in September, where investigators from the Durham Police Department and St. Landry’s Parish Sheriff’s office were able to find and arrest him.
According to law enforcement sources, Guzman is an illegal immigrant who came to the US in September, 2015, most likely under the “DREAM Act”. The DREAM Act of course was designed to allow “children” of illegal aliens to remain in the US, and is a current point of contention with the Trump Administration. More on that later.
Guzman arrived as an Unaccompanied Alien Child and was released into the interior of the country. Guzman remains in deportation proceedings.
Prior to this latest arrest, Guzman was arrested in December of last year by the Durham Police Department for robbing two victims at gunpoint in separate incidents. Ironically that same month, Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead announced that he was breaking off all cooperation with ICE, thus turning the region into a sanctuary jurisdiction.
ICE requested that Durham County hold Guzman until he could be turned over to them for the purposes of deportation.
Amazingly, Durham County ignored that request and RELEASED him in March, a mere six months before he allegedly slaughtered his girlfriend. ICE has confirmed that they “will again seek to take custody” of Guzman “should he be released from local custody for any reason.”
North Carolina, which used to be considered a “red” state, has moved increasingly into the “purple” range in the past several years, as more residents of the liberal northeast have moved to the state. The jury is still out on whether North Carolina is indeed moving left.
This case is another in a line of incidents where North Carolina sanctuary counties released hundreds of criminal illegal aliens into the general public rather than turning them over to immigration authorities for arrest and deportation.
According to Breitbart, in FY 2019, North Carolina sanctuary jurisdictions freed 563 illegal aliens who should have been turned over to ICE.
Over 88 percent of those freed have been convicted of crimes, including 28 for assault, 192 for traffic violations, 84 for drunk driving, 46 possession of drugs and 35 for larceny.
Of course, this case in North Carolina is a microcosm of the overall problem with illegal aliens committing criminal offenses.
In 2015, Kate Steinle was shot and killed by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal alien. Lopez-Sanchez had been deported five times, however due to California’s “sanctuary state” policy, he was not turned over to ICE.
Lopez-Sanchez was amazingly acquitted of first and second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and assault with a semi-automatic weapon. He was only convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, a charge with was dismissed by a San Francisco appeals court.
This particular case gained nationwide attention, and inspired a bill called “Kate’s Law”, which would enhance penalties for convicted and deported criminals who reenter the country illegally. The bill was initially introduced in 2015, but failed to pass the Senate. As of today, the bill has still not passed the US Senate.
According to the Heritage Foundation, non-citizens account for only about 7 percent of the U.S. population, however non-citizens account for nearly two-thirds (64%) of all federal arrests last year. Heritage continues that 20 years earlier, only 37 percent of all federal arrests were among non-citizens.
But it isn’t only federal crimes that non-citizens are committing. Between June 1, 2011 and July 31, 2019, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced that nearly 300,000 non-citizens had been booked into local Texas jails. These are state crimes, not immigration violations. Out of that number two-thirds were later confirmed as illegal aliens.
Someone who receives particular criticism from the Heritage Foundation is North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. Earlier this year, Cooper vetoed a bill that would require cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.
Ironically and unbelievably this occurred just a few short days after ICE captured an illegal alien charged with first-degree rape and indecent liberties against a child.
Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo, an illegal Honduran national, was arrested on June 14 of this year on charges of first degree rape and two counts of indecent liberties with a child. ICE issued a detainer the following day, but newly elected Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden ended the cooperation program following his election.
The suspect in that case was released from custody by county officials even though ICE held a detainer warrant for him. Fortunately, he was captured during a targeted enforcement operation on August 9 and remains in ICE custody.
What these politicians have shown in embracing these sanctuary policies is that they put political expediency and political correctness ahead of the safety of their constituents.
It’s happening all over the country.
Earlier this week, we reported on a similar story out of Seattle.
That’s where an undocumented immigrant with a criminal history dating to 2010 was released from jail by local authorities in on two separate occasions – despite ICE having a detainer against the released individual, according to the the agency.
Now, Julio Cruz-Velazquez, 25, has been charged with murder on November 7 of this year and the agency has placed a detainer on him with the King County Jail based in Seattle.
What’s troubling in all this is that ICE stated that Cruz-Velazquez was arrested and released from the very same jail twice within the past two years while the agency had active detainer requests. Furthermore, in addition to the ignored detainer requests secured, there were seven other instances where the agency couldn’t even secure detainer requests in time when he was in custody at the facility.
ICE released a statement regarding the conundrum surrounding Cruz-Velazquez.
“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.”
ICE delved into the previously ignored secured detainers for Cruz-Velazquez with the King County Jail. One of which was on July 9 of 2018, two days after he was arrested by the Tukwila Police Department and charged with rape and domestic violence.
The second instance where the jail ignored the detainer was on January 7 of this year, three days after he was arrested by the same department and charged with failure to comply and driving under the influence.
The agency confirmed that the jail had released Cruz-Velazquez both times and didn’t bother alerting ICE.
ICE Seattle field office director Nathalie Asher also commented on the lack of cooperation from local law enforcement.
“Local law enforcement failed the public in this case on multiple occasions. 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.”
The agency also made a statement pertaining to how difficult it is to fulfill their agencies mission statement with the absurd laws in place inhibiting local law enforcement’s collaboration.
“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.”
— Jennifer Lee (@JennLeeTV) November 8, 2019
On April 4 of this year, Cruz-Velazquez was convicted of second-degree assault, a class B felony that carries a sentence up to 10 years in prison. He was booked into Nisqually Jail on July 10 and charged with a community custody violation, but was released the next day before ICE could lodge a detainer, the agency said.
Another instance of one of the failed attempts to secure a detainer happened on July 27, 2017. Cruz-Velazquez was arrested by the Seattle Police Department and charged with burglary and malicious mischief, but he was released without ICE having time to lodge the detainer against him.
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A analogous order of events took place on the five other times that ICE could have detained Cruz-Velazquez:
-In August 2015, when Cruz-Velazquez was arrested by Seattle police for failure to comply.
-In June 2012 when Seattle authorities charged him with possession of a stolen vehicle.
-Three times between 2010 and 2012 when he was arrested on local charges that included robbery and manufacturing and possessing a controlled substance, according to the agency.
Apparently, Cruz-Velazquez had also been convicted in November 2015 of vehicle prowling. He was sentenced to 364 days in jail and 12 months of community service, but his actual release date from jail regarding that sentence is unknown.
What is more troubling is that Cruz-Velazquez has a history of entry-without-inspection (often abbreviated as EWI within U.S. Customs and Border Patrol) and had entered the United States illegally back in February 2000. He voluntarily returned to Mexico the day after being apprehended by Border Patrol, but later illegally re-entered at an unknown date and location, the agency said.
This week, Julio Cruz-Velazquez was in court for the murder of 56-year-old Sam Lam.https://t.co/2VhCHQGJ7x
— KOMO News (@komonews) November 17, 2019
He currently charged with first-degree murder in the death of 56-year-old Sam Nang Lam, a Vietnamese man who died from two gunshot wounds to the back, according to police and is being held on a $2 million bail.
Nathalie Asher provided a statement on how this tragedy could have been completely avoided.
“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.”
The key takeaway is that these very losses can be prevented, but in the spirit of politics and appeasing a class of the population that shouldn’t be here in the first place, it’s the citizens of this country who suffer.
It’s starting to seem as if the West Coast is just a walking negligence suit waiting to happen.
In Salem, Oregon, locals are seeking to halt federal agents from arresting people in courthouses for immigration violations. Oregon’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters on Thursday has mandated that civil arrests in state courthouses are no longer allowed, unless the arresting agency has a judicial arrest warrant.
Yet, this newly adopted practice is likely to cause some issues and pin them at odds with federal agents.
According to ICE spokeswoman Tanya Roman, the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement will continue its mission and use its endowed authority as needed, and anyone who obstructs it could be charged with crimes. It makes perfect sense as well, as no one is “above the law”.
Activists for immigrants have complained about increased enforcement activity around courthouses and other places under the Trump administration.
ICE agents have been detaining people who appear for court proceedings and are suspected of being in the United States illegally. In one incident in July of this year, agents had pepper-sprayed family members of Fabian Alberto Zamora-Rodriguez, a suspected illegal alien who was charged with sexual offenses involving minors, who hindering agents from detaining him at a courthouse in Astoria, Oregon.
Katherine McDowell, an attorney and board member of the ACLU of Oregon, opined the following regarding the judges take on ICE being present in courthouses: :
“The courthouse rule stops these frightening practices and ensures that everyone can seek justice in our courts.”
Judges on the Uniform Trial Court Rules Committee had asked Chief Justice Martha Walters on October 18th to impose barring of arrests by ICE at courthouses, claiming that immigrants and even legal residents, are afraid to go to court because of fear they will be detained. Chief Justice Martha Walters stated that arrests in courthouses have inhibited with legal proceedings and removed criminal offenders before they have been sentenced.
According to Walters, the new rule was adopted “not to advance or oppose any political or policy agenda.”
Yet, since police are prohibited from cooperating on the ground level, Tanya Roman says that agents are forced to go to the courthouses in order to enact their duties, citing that “local policies that prevent law enforcement from cooperating with ICE.”
Roman said, without out directly saying, that the agency has no intention of abiding by unenforceable rulings by judges, in a statement she provided:
“ICE will continue to carry out its mission to uphold public safety and enforce immigration law, and consider carefully whether to refer those who obstruct our lawful enforcement efforts for criminal prosecution.”
Even though courts in New York State, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico have already limited or blocked ICE from conducting courthouse arrests, some of the judges on the rules committee are worried the rule could cause an armed confrontation between county sheriff’s deputies and federal agents.
Judge Lung Hung of Malheur County Circuit Court expressed his concerns about the enforceability when ICE agents decide to swing their federal weight, regardless of the mandates at the local level:
“I don’t know how we would handle that situation, honestly. It’s the enforcement that concerns me,” Leland Baxter-Neal, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Oregon, told the committee that ICE usually respects jurisdictions that have adopted similar rules.
ICE had also released an official statement regarding exactly where their authority begins and ends:
“ICE ERO officers have been provided broad at-large arrest authority by Congress and may lawfully arrest removable aliens in courthouses, which is often necessitated by local policies that prevent law enforcement from cooperating with ICE efforts to arrange for a safe and orderly transfer of custody in the setting of a state or county prison or jail and put political rhetoric before public safety.”
The agency also continued, not shying away from addressing the courthouse debacle:
“It is ironic that elected officials want to see policies in place to keep ICE out of courthouses, while caring little for laws enacted by Congress to keep criminal aliens out of our country.
Despite attempts to prevent ICE officers from doing their jobs, ICE will continue to carry out its mission to uphold public safety and enforce immigration law, and consider carefully whether to refer those who obstruct our lawful enforcement efforts for criminal prosecution.”
Whatever the outcome from all this, it’s likely not going to swing in the favor of those who want to prevent federal agents from doing their jobs.