Until now, a countywide policy made it against the rules for local law enforcement officials to assist with federal immigration employees.
But after a skyrocketing number of rape cases surfaced and continued to grow, officials in the area are rethinking what ‘sanctuary’ status actually means for their residents.
We’re talking about Montgomery County, Maryland. County officials originally adopted the “Promoting Community Trust Executive Order” back in July in an apparent attempt to help out local law enforcement with local crime. Generally, the idea was to make non-citizens feel as though they could still go to the police or cooperate in an investigation without fear of further action due to their citizenship status.
The policy was so strict, federal ICE officials were not even allowed to set foot inside of a Montgomery County jail. Any non-public county facilities were completely out of bounds for members of DHS – specifically those dealing with immigration.
But that’s no longer the case after Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich rolled back certain parts of that agreement this week in order to reinstate law and order and protect residents in the community.
Why the big change? Since the measure was signed back in July, nine undocumented criminal immigrants were charged with rape and sexual assault — in just a matter of 60 days. But because of the strict statute that had been laid out, local cops literally just had to let the suspects walk.
The spike in August in September highlighted the hypocrisy behind the legally binding agreement.
Now federal ICE officials will be given access to “identified areas” of the local lockup facility to “ensure that transfers are conducted in a safe environment.”
That means no more local police officials releasing individuals that are wanted by federal agents. No more ignoring detainer requests filed by the Department of Homeland Security. The original measure also barred law enforcement from asking residents about their citizenship status. That’s now been rolled back as well, according to Fox.
An ICE spokesperson released a statement generalizing the importance of uniting members of law enforcement in the fight against ALL crime — not just picking and choosing which rules to enforce.
“Cooperation by local law enforcement is an indispensable component of promoting public safety,” they said in a statement.
Officials spoke with Fox about why criminal detainers are usually placed — and the serious repercussions that dividing police forces can have on a community.
“ICE lodges detainers on individuals who have been arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens. The detainer asks the other law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of release and to maintain custody of the alien for a brief period of time so that ICE can take custody of that person in a safe and secure setting upon release from that agency’s custody.”
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In August, Elrich’s office had said that despite multiple ICE detainer requests being placed on dangerous criminals, the county was unable to accommodate unless the detainer came with a judicial warrant. But ICE pushed back, noting that they did not need a judge to sign off on a warrant in order to do their job.
But now it seems like those days are over — at least for the time being.
Federal immigration officials say that the change of heart will allow them to perform their jobs in a much safer environment, taking wanted criminals into custody for removal proceedings inside of a safe, law enforcement controlled facility — not somewhere in public where something could easily go wrong.
“It is safer for everyone if we take custody of an alien in the controlled environment of another law enforcement agency as opposed to visiting an alien’s residence, place of work or other public area. Arresting a criminal in the safety, security, and privacy of a jail is always the best option,” the spokesperson added.
Let’s look at some of the cases that drove these leaders to change their minds.
The latest accusations came after 37-year-old Emilio Carrasco-Hernandez’s 15-year-old step-daughter accused the Honduran national of raping her a number of times.
According to public records, Carrasco-Hernandez faces charges of second-degree rape, sex abuse of a minor, third-degree sex offense and fourth-degree sex offense in connection with the assault.
The victim approached the Montgomery County police to file a report that her step-father had repeatedly sexually assaulted her between August 16 and August 25. She told investigators that the experience had been “very painful” and that she’s had some lingering issues following the alleged incidents.
“Victim A stated that she could not move and Emilio Carrasco-Hernandez was squishing her with his body,” investigators said.
The victim’s mother allegedly caught the two in a bedroom in the suburban Maryland residence. After discovering the two together, she reportedly kicked Carrasco-Hernandez out of the house. She told police that she believed her daughter may have been given alcohol in order to coerce her into performing the sexual acts with her step-father.
Officials within ICE reported that Carrasco-Hernandez had been deported from the United States in April of 2017, but came back over the border “sometime thereafter.”
Because he had been previously deported, the suspect could face 20 years in a federal prison for re-entering the country. If convicted on all charges, WJLA says that he could face up to 56 years behind bars.
Another man, Nelson Saul Reyes-Medrano, 46, has been charged with first-degree rape, sex abuse of a minor, and first-degree assault after he reportedly crawled into a young girl’s bed while she was taking a nap and raped her while holding a knife to her throat.
The Montgomery County Police Department arrested Reyes-Medrano after the attack, which took place in late 2018, was reported to authorities.
Police reported that the victim, who was 16-years-old at the time of the alleged abuse, was taking a nap in her apartment, where Reyes-Medrano reportedly also lived. She told police that she felt someone climbing into the bed, and when she opened her eyes, she saw the suspect positioning himself over her.
“Take your clothes off,” Reyes-Medrano allegedly said to the teen, according to a court document. The document notes that the suspect then placed the dull-side of the knife against the victim’s neck as she began to undress.
The document then went on to say that while she was taking off her clothes, the suspect reportedly grew impatient and began to rape her.
It wasn’t until a noise from outside the apartment startled Reyes-Medrano that the horrific encounter ended. The teen told investigators that she was in pain throughout the entire experience.
Reyes-Medrano then threw his clothes on and fled the apartment, taking the knife that he had used in the assault with him.
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