I've been reading about the case of an illegal alien from Mexico who was arrested and criminally charged in a county in Utah for serial sexual abuse of his 8-year-old stepdaughter. He has also been charged with multiple counts of document fraud and identity theft, almost certainly because once arrested for the pedophilia crimes, law enforcement officials determined that he was living and working in the United States with phony documents involving someone else's Social Security number or name.
The alien, 49-year-old Gerardo Valerio-Romero, since being jailed, has been diagnosed with cancer and run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Worse, the treatments have necessitated postponements of his trial, which results in the need for more treatment, and so forth, in a downward financial spiral that is bankrupting the county sheriff's office.
Two media accounts show some of the troubling aspects that crop up in such cases.
KUER public radio, for instance, quotes his lawyer as suggesting that the sheriff's office simply drop the charges and let him be deported to Mexico (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, "ICE", that much-reviled agency of late, has filed a detainer seeking custody after the disposition of Valerio-Romero's criminal charges.) The sheriff's office responded that they don't wish to, because of the uncertainty that he will actually be deported should that occur. Almost as an afterthought, the sheriff suggested that such a recourse permits the man to avoid accountability. Here's a snippet of the KUER article:
Simms, Romero's attorney, said he thinks Utah County could avoid the stress and save taxpayer dollars if it would just release Romero to immigration officials.
"He's already lost because he's spending time in jail," Simms said. "ICE has a hold on him. He will be deported."
The best-case scenario is for Romero to be cleared of the sex abuse charges and sent back to Mexico, Simms said, adding that his client has been falsely accused.
For Romero, he sees only has two choices: serve jail or prison time and then be deported, or be deported immediately.
"He doesn't have a third choice, which is go back to your life. Go back to working at a construction company and build houses in Utah County," Simms said. "That choice is not available for him."
Durfey, the undersheriff, said the county has no plans to release Romero or defer his prosecution. Based on conversations with federal officials, he does not believe Immigration and Customs Enforcement will push to deport Romero should the county release him. He said he's not willing to risk sending him back out into the community.
"It's not as simplistic as people want it to be," Durfey said. "If you were the victim, would you want this individual to not have any accountability?"
It seems to me that criminal accountability is vitally important in this case. As a retired ICE official, it's something I'm confident current ICE agents also feel strongly about, because they know the system. The truth is that, even if he were removed, policing our border is such a difficult proposition these days — with resistance to border barriers, continual pushes to play the catch-and-release game, and the big money to be made in human smuggling — it's entirely likely that Valerio-Romero would illegally return in a relatively short period of time and simply relocate someplace else with new fraudulent documents bought cheaply from a storefront vendor.
As to the sheriff's assertion that he "does not believe Immigration and Customs Enforcement will push to deport Romero should the county release him", that needs put into context:
If the Utah County district attorney's office foolishly drops the charges, then Valerio-Romero may be an illegal alien, but he's not a criminal alien. He drops to the bottom of the priority list not only for ICE, but also for the immigration court. If ICE attempts to detain him without bond, or with a high bond, his immigration attorney will undoubtedly at that point say, "But judge, he's not a convict, he's simply illegally in the United States like the other 11 million or so aliens in his circumstance." ICE is consistently hammered for allegedly deporting aliens who have no criminal convictions. That sometimes is so, but Valerio-Romero is exactly the kind of case that gets statistically misreported by the hundreds in the press or by opportunistic migrant advocates, who choose to obfuscate the facts behind each of those cases, leaving the public with serious misunderstandings of the work going on behind the scenes.
The other article about the case, in the Daily Caller, quotes Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie as saying:
We're looking to the federal government and federal delegation to step up. It's their responsibility to enforce these laws. It's their failure to act that's created this situation.
Oh? How does that follow? Does Utah County step up and take responsibility for the medical cost of victims of violent crimes since it is clearly "their responsibility" to enforce laws against such crimes?
How about pedophiles? Putting aside the man's immigration status, isn't it Utah County's job to protect children against predators, which they failed to do in this case? Will they be paying for the years of psychological treatment that the victimized child should receive? If not, why not?
I don't want to suggest that I'm without sympathy for the plight of the county sheriff's office. On the contrary, they have been caught in the cross-hairs of a myopic county commission that apparently was too foolhardy to obtain catastrophic inmate health care insurance on one hand, and a federal Congress on the other hand that even now cannot bring itself to pass overdue and sorely needed immigration enforcement reforms.
Instead, Congress is reduced to such foolishness as introducing bills to abolish ICE on the Democratic side of the House, and nonbinding resolutions "in support" of ICE on the Republican side, even as their Appropriations Committee adopts a series of measures in the 2019 budget that would turn a bad situation even uglier.