by Joel Moreno | KOMO NewsSaturday, November 16th 2019

SEATTLE – Blowback is mounting over three separate murders that might have been prevented, but immigration officials say sanctuary policies got in the way.

The cases involve killings in South Park, Auburn, and Bellevue. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the people who have been arrested are in the country illegally. ICE officials add that in the past they tried to take them into custody but local officials refused to help.

A man whose son was murdered said his boy might still be alive if King County officials had notified ICE when they had the chance.

Now, the ashes of Juan Carlos Con Guzman are the first thing his father sees when he walks through the front door.

"They take all my love. They broke my heart. Broke everything," said Juan Carlos Con Chiquin.

Before being arrested for murder, immigration officials said one of the men suspected in Guzman’s death was in custody for auto theft. ICE asked the King County Jail to let them know when he'd be released. That notification never came and now Guzman is dead.

"They need to change a little bit,” Chiquin said.

Because of his son, Chiquin believes local officials need to rethink sanctuary policies when it involves people who commit serious crimes.

There are two other homicide cases involving undocumented immigrants. One is charged with shooting into a home in South Park and killing a father as he sat on his couch. The third case led to a teenager being killed in a Bellevue park.

Bryan Wilcox, a deputy field officer director for ICE, said his agency sought detainers to hold the people involved before these crimes were committed but were ignored.

"In these circumstances, they (need to) work more hard and together,” Chiquin said.

While these examples are tragic, sanctuary policies have also helped many immigrants feel more comfortable reaching out to police about threats in the community. However, there is a feeling that some sort of balance needs to be struck. Ultimately, any change in King County would have to come from the county council.

King County Executive Dow Constantine released a statement:

“ICE is now on a public relations offensive against jurisdictions that follow the rule of law, alerting the media to instances when agents send civil Immigration Detainers that are prohibited by county policy. ICE is fully aware that if they present a valid criminal warrant issued by a U.S. District Court Judge or Magistrate, the county would comply. To be clear, we do not hold people against their will in our detention facilities unless ordered to do so by a judge. We will continue to honor the Constitution, rather than the extrajudicial orders of any person, including the President."

However, immigration officials said it's not possible to get a criminal warrant in most cases when they want someone held on a detainer.