SCOOP: Three Illegal Aliens in Maryland Criminal Cases Entered as Unaccompanied Alien Children

By Jon Feere on June 2, 2023

Sources have revealed to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) that three unaccompanied alien children (UACs) are among the six illegal aliens recently identified by the Frederick County (Maryland) Sheriff’s Office in connection to the murder of a 15-year-old high school student and a separate case involving attempted murder and assault. CIS can report that two of these UACs are MS-13 gang members.

This is the latest case to call into question the government’s handling of UACs, its ability to protect the nation from criminal aliens, the Biden administration’s dangerous immigration policies, and the resource needs for immigration enforcement. The six individuals are:

  • Ismael Ivan Rivera-Canales, age 20
  • Alexis Alfredo Ayala Lopez, age 21
  • Jose Roberto Ramos-Lopez, age 22 (MS-13)
  • Elmir Bladimir Reyes-Reyes, age 28
  • Ismael Lopez-Lopez, age 29 (MS-13)
  • Josue Mauricio Arrue-Paniagua, (MS-13)

Lopez-Lopez was already incarcerated for assault first-degree and violation of a protective order. Reyes-Reyes is currently in Pennsylvania awaiting extradition back to Frederick. Arrue-Paniagua is charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, assault first-degree, assault second-degree, and firearm use/felon-violate crime on a separate case. The details of that case have not been publicly revealed.

The sheriff’s office announced the arrests in a recent Facebook post:

One of the victims in these arrests was 15-year-old Limber Lopez Funez, a student at Frederick High School. He went missing in late February and police soon found a crime scene in a wooded area “that indicated a serious assault had occurred there”, according to authorities. On April 24, Lopez Funez’s remains were discovered in an area close to Gambrill State Park.

Immigration Cases Were Closed? Sources have revealed to CIS that the immigration cases of the three UACs appear to have been closed with no apparent resolution because of decisions made by the Department of Justice, immigration judges, or ICE. Generally, an immigration case may be considered closed because an alien has been deported or obtained legal status, but neither appears to have been the case for these three individuals. A congressional inquiry would provide clarity on exactly what happened here.

Under the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) used administrative closure as a way to decline to prosecute what it considered “low priority” cases without formally terminating them; that practice ended under the Trump administration. While hundreds of thousands of cases were closed under the Obama administration, it’s unclear how many cases have been closed under the Biden administration, but the administration is reportedly continuing to close high numbers of immigration cases without any oversight. How many have criminal histories? How many have gang affiliations? If the aliens had good cases, it’s unlikely the Biden administration would be closing them; an alien with a good case would prefer to obtain lawful status and some finality. Likely, the Biden administration is closing cases where the alien is likely to lose and face deportation, which means many problematic illegal aliens are likely benefiting from this effort. Congressional inquiries are warranted.

Importance of 287(g) Program. These arrests and identifications of the criminal alien suspects by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office highlight the importance of the cooperative program 287(g), which allows ICE to enter into agreements with local law enforcement and provide them training on how to identify criminal aliens in their custody. This is an important law enforcement relationship because it is often local sheriffs, rather than ICE officers, who first come into contact with criminal aliens. The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office referenced the 287(g) program in its public notice about the arrests, explaining that “Designated Immigration Officers (DIO) within the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office 287(g) Program placed an Immigration Detainer-Notice of Action, form I-247A, on all five noncitizens illegally present in the United States.”

Generally, this effort by 287(g) partners helps to ensure that criminal aliens are not quickly released back out onto the streets and are instead transferred to ICE for deportation. However, the Biden administration is ignoring the identifications made by sheriffs in the 287(g) program and forcing these law enforcement partners to release countless criminal aliens back into American communities. Congress should inquire about the total number of criminal aliens identified through the 287(g) program that the Biden administration has refused to take into ICE custody.

Biden’s political appointee running ICE’s legal division opposes 287(g) and ICE cooperation with local law enforcement, as I’ve detailed in an earlier report. Prior to her appointment at ICE, Kerry Doyle testified before the Massachusetts statehouse and declared her opposition to the state working with ICE despite the fact that 287(g) sheriffs in Massachusetts helped identify criminal aliens with records for manslaughter, armed carjacking, armed robbery, aggravated assault and battery, child rape, strangulation of a pregnant woman, assault and battery of a 60+/disabled person, kidnapping, home invasion, burglary, fentanyl trafficking, cocaine trafficking, carrying an unlicensed firearm, credit card and identity fraud, and drunk driving, to name a few crimes.

This same political appointee is reportedly running point on the scheme to quietly cancel thousands of immigration cases.

ICE Resources Needed. The amount of work that the Biden administration has created for ICE officers is extraordinary, yet there is little discussion from Congress about providing ICE more resources in the forthcoming DHS appropriations bill. If the damage unleashed by the Biden administration is to be reversed by a future administration, ICE will need a significant increase in officers, special agents, prosecuting attorneys, and detention beds, among other few things.

The hiring and training process takes time and there is no reason Congress should wait for a new administration to begin that process, which can take years. A move to increase ICE resources would start in the House Appropriations Committee's Homeland Security Subcommittee, whose members are:


  • Rep. Dave Joyce (Ohio) – Chair
  • Rep. John Rutherford (Fla.)
  • Rep. Andy Harris (Md.)
  • Rep. Dan Newhouse (Wash.)
  • Rep. Ashley Hinson (Iowa)
  • Rep. Michael Cloud (Texas)
  • Rep. Michael Guest (Miss.)


  • Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas) – Ranking Member
  • Rep. Lauren Underwood (Ill.)
  • Rep. Ed Case (Hawaii)
  • Rep. David Trone (Md.)

Congress could be uncovering cases like this through increased inquiries to ICE and sheriffs. A recent case of 20-year-old Kayla Hamilton, a Maryland woman raped and murdered allegedly by an MS-13 member, garnered a lot of attention, a congressional hearing, and a detailed report from the House Judiciary Committee. But part of the reason this case received intense scrutiny in Congress was because I broke the news, via a viral social media post, that the suspect entered the United States as an unaccompanied alien child — in March 2022, only months before Hamilton was killed. I was only able to report this scoop because of working relationships with law enforcement. The Center for Immigration Studies has been able to report a lot of information over the years because of this type of cooperation.

Congress should build relationships with ICE officers and sheriff’s offices so that more cases like these become part of the public discourse on law enforcement. Through those relationships, Congress can uncover details on many cases that illustrate the negative public safety impact of the Biden administration’s immigration policies.