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, and 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.