So Many Immigration-Enforcement Missteps in Two Illegal Migrant Sex Assault Cases

Biden’s border releases, got-aways, and the pointless damage inflicted on victims by “sanctuary” jurisdictions

By Andrew R. Arthur on November 9, 2023

Two recent ICE press releases lauding the agency’s apprehension of illegal aliens charged with sex offenses highlight all that is wrong with immigration enforcement under the current administration; aided, abetted, and fostered by “sanctuary cities” that are more interested in coddling criminal aliens than protecting the innocent residents of the communities in which they prey. By the way — perhaps I misspoke. They’re not called “illegal aliens”; instead, they are called “undocumented noncitizens”, and their identities are cloaked in a veil of secrecy by the current leadership of DHS.

“ERO Washington, D.C. Apprehends Noncitizen Charged with Rape, Kidnapping, Assault”. The first press release is from October 17, captioned “ERO Washington, D.C. apprehends noncitizen charged with rape, kidnapping, assault”, and it begins:

Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Washington, D.C. arrested an undocumented noncitizen charged with felony rape by force, threat, or intimidation; abduction by force; and assault on a family member. Deportation officers from ERO Washington, D.C.’s Mobile Criminal Apprehension Team arrested the Honduran national on Oct. 12 in Herndon, Virginia.

So far, so good, you might think — ICE ERO officers are out there on the streets, tracking down rapists and kidnappers. At least you — the taxpayer — are getting something for the $8 billion you’re shelling out for the agency annually.

Then, however, that press release takes a turn into the bizarre and contradictory:

The undocumented noncitizen unlawfully entered the United States on an unknown date, at an unknown location, and without being inspected or admitted by an immigration official.

U.S. Border Patrol arrested the Honduran national near Roma, Texas, in June 2021, issuing him a notice to appear before a Department of Justice (DOJ) immigration judge.

There are a lot of prefixes in those two sentences (most of them “un”s, but with a “non” thrown in there for good measure), but we actually know when he entered illegally — shortly before his arrest in Roma, Texas, which sits on the Rio Grande directly across from the city of Ciudad Miguel Aleman, in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico. The bluffs there are good for bird watching, but nothing suggests he’s an avian enthusiast.

What we don’t know is why he was not expelled under Title 42, the fate of 6,575 other Honduran nationals apprehended in the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley (RGV) sector, which has jurisdiction over Roma, in June 2021.

By contrast, just 384 single adults from Honduras were processed for removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in lieu of Title 42 expulsion by RGV agents after they were apprehended entering illegally that month. Of course, I am assuming that he entered illegally.

Given the fact that he was arrested for “assault on a family member”, perhaps he brought his alleged future victim or victims with him and entered in what DHS terms a “family unit” (FMU), with a child. Just 1,616 Honduran aliens in FMUs were expelled by RGV agents that month, while more than 11,500 others were processed under the INA, and nearly all — if not all — were released. Smugglers know the score.

Or perhaps he made a compelling asylum or torture claim after he was apprehended by RGV agents in June 2021. Not surprisingly, career criminals — and few first-time offenders jump right to crimes like the ones for which this individual was charged — are better able to prove to asylum officers that local officials in their home countries have shown an unusual interest in them than ordinary illegal entrants.

In any event, he was present in this country on July 20, 2023, when he was arrested by local cops in Herndon, Va., for the aforementioned crimes. ICE — properly — placed a detainer on him that day with the Fairfax County (Va.) Adult Detention Center (FFXADC).

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors “Public Trust and Confidentiality Policy”. Had the story ended there, only one government in our federal system would have dropped the ball in dealing with this individual. FFXADC would have told ICE when and where he was going to be released, and ICE ERO could have simply taken him into custody and processed him for removal.

But the story didn’t end there, because FFXADC released this “undocumented noncitizen” without informing ICE. It wasn’t until August 17 that the agency knew he wasn’t in county custody anymore, and not until October 12 that ERO was able to find and arrest him.

Was there some sort of mix up, some missed memo that prompted FFXADC to cut this alleged malefactor loose? Possibly, but the more likely explanation is that the local officials there released him under Fairfax County’s “Public Trust and Confidentiality Policy”.

That so-called “Trust Policy” was adopted by the Board of Supervisors there in 2021 “to reaffirm current county policy and improve community health, welfare, safety, security and trust by ensuring that immigrant residents can access county benefits and services without fear that the information they share will be disclosed to federal immigration officials”.

The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office runs the FFXADC, and as the Trust Policy’s website makes clear:

The Sheriff’s Office does not book anyone into the Adult Detention Center nor hold inmates past their court ordered release date without a judicial warrant. Deputies do not participate in, nor provide assistance to, ICE activities out in the community.

Detainers are not judicial warrants, but for what it’s worth, not only have I never heard of ICE obtaining a judicial warrant to take a criminal alien into custody, I also have no idea how its officers would obtain one — and I was on the enforcement division at the former INS’s general counsel’s office.

That “judicial warrant” canard is the dodge, however, that enables counties like Fairfax to make the following solemn pronouncement: “The Board of Supervisors has not designated Fairfax County as a sanctuary county; it complies to the fullest extent required by federal, state or local law with any law enforcement agency requesting criminal law enforcement assistance.”

Uh-huh. Reading through the “Trust Policy” sure makes it sound like Fairfax is a “sanctuary county”. The good news is that this alien is in ICE custody; the bad news is that he was ever allowed in to allegedly commit such heinous offenses.

“ERO Baltimore Arrests Mexican National Convicted of Sexual Abuse of Maryland Minor”. At least Fairfax County, with its Border of Supervisors’ Trust Policy, only allowed a criminally charged alien to evade ICE apprehension once. Wait until you hear what my erstwhile hometown of Baltimore, Md., has been up to, courtesy of a November 7 ICE press release captioned “ERO Baltimore arrests Mexican national convicted of sexual abuse of Maryland minor”.

That particular — but similarly unnamed — Mexican national again is described as having “unlawfully entered the United States on an unknown date, at an unknown location, and without being inspected, admitted or paroled by an immigration official”, only in this instance the claim holds more water because it really is unclear when he last came in.

I say “when he last came in” because this is not his first trip to the United States, and therein hangs a tale.

He was here as early as April 2012, when he was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) for driving without a license, for which he was convicted and received a fine. A second arrest for that charge in September 2013 landed him in jail for 60 days. Despite the fact he was here illegally and confined, he was not removed.

Nearly five years later, in July 2018, a state court in Baltimore issued an arrest warrant based on charges of rape (first and second degree), “sex abuse of a minor: house/family”, assault of a family member or fellow resident in the first degree, and other associated sex crimes. The actual offense is not clear, but to anyone familiar with the criminal justice system, those charges tell quite a story.

He was not immediately arrested, however, having apparently absconded to Charlotte, N.C., where he was arrested by ICE ERO in October 2018 and transferred to the local county jail. From there, he was extradited back to Baltimore that December after ICE Charlotte placed a detainer on him.

This “undocumented noncitizen” was convicted of sex abuse of a minor: house/family in August 2021 and sentenced to 25 years of confinement. Baltimore City courts not being the strictest when it comes to even the most atrocious of crimes, however, 22 years and four months of that sentence was suspended, and he was transferred to ICE Baltimore that same month and shipped to Washington, D.C., for detention.

At that point, there appears to be a typo in the press release: “In September 2021, a Department of Justice immigration judge in Arlington, Va., ordered the noncitizen removed to Mexico. In October 2018, ERO Washington, D.C. removed him from the United States to Mexico via ICE Air Operations.”

I assume that he was actually removed in October 2021, but in any event, he did not remain in Mexico long, because in September 2023 he was arrested in Towson, Md. (in Baltimore County, a separate jurisdiction), for trespass.

Notwithstanding his lengthy and unsavory criminal record, however, he received a “stet” in Baltimore County courts (essentially staying his prosecution provided he kept his nose clean) and was apparently released. An ICE ERO Fugitive Operations team arrested him in nearby Joppa, Md., earlier this month.

As with Fairfax County, Baltimore City swears up and down that it is not a “sanctuary city”. That said, as then-Mayor Catherine Pugh explained in January 2017: "My conversation with the Police Department is we don't walk around asking people where they are from. That's not our policy. We don't do that”.

Of course, nobody is asking BPD to randomly stop people on the street and ask them if they are citizens. But would it be too much to ask that question of arrested criminals?

“Sanctuary” Cities Only Protect Criminals. When I was a young INS trial attorney in San Francisco, Calif., in the mid-1990s, local cops and jailers closely cooperated with immigration officers in identifying criminal aliens, for two simple reasons: The locals didn’t want criminals on their streets committing more crimes, and deportation ensured that the locals wouldn’t have to spend time, money, and resources re-arresting and reincarcerating recidivists.

Beginning under the Obama administration, however, the whole “sanctuary in name only” craze took off, all in the name of “the safety and security of all immigrant residents”, as in Fairfax County, or as Mayor Pugh put it, because Baltimore wants to be “a welcoming city. We want everyone here.”

If by “everyone” she meant “hardened criminals”, too, my response is “Mission Accomplished”, as anyone who has ever veered too far west or north from the city’s Inner Harbor after a late-night Orioles’ game can confirm.

In reality, “sanctuary” cities only protect criminals, by definition — because that’s the kind of people who end up in the FFXADC or in the back of a BPD squad car. Our unidentified Mexican “undocumented noncitizen” should never have been in Baltimore to commit “sex abuse of a minor: house/family” in 2018 because he should have been deported when he was arrested the first time in April 2012.

Biden’s Release Policies. Fairfax County bears similar blame for releasing the unidentified alien who was arrested for what appear to be similar crimes in that locale, but the primary responsibility falls on the Biden administration for allowing him into the United States to begin with. He should have been expelled shortly after he was apprehended, but absent that, the Immigration and Nationality Act mandates that, as an inadmissible “applicant for admission”, he should have been detained.

Of course, as a federal judge explained in March, those release policies have driven the migrant surge that has overwhelmed Border Patrol agents since Biden took office. That’s why there have been more than 1.7 million “got-aways” — aliens who entered illegally and successfully evaded apprehension, since January 2021.

We can speculate about who those got aways are and why they came, but they are the definition of “unknown unknowns” — we have no idea who they are or why they’re here because they have never been caught. But I can now tell you that one of them was sentenced to 25 years for “sex abuse of a minor: house/family” in Baltimore, Md., in August 2021. No wonder he didn’t want to be caught.

The crimes with which these two aliens were charged, and the Mexican national in question was convicted, are the most heinous imaginable. They are also, by their nature, subject to repetition. If only there were “sanctuaries” for victims, too — because they aren’t being protected by local “sanctuary” policies, or by the administration’s border-release regime.