One man was arrested 19 times; others once. All of them face deportation in Trump’s America

May 30, 2017

Emaud Azer Boctor has been charged with crimes 19 times in Sacramento County, most recently for trying to escape an ankle monitor, court records show. He was sentenced to five years in state prison in 1997 for receiving stolen property and has been jailed on more than a dozen other separate occasions.

Somephone Siackasorn is scheduled to go on trial in Sacramento this week to face an allegation he was driving a stolen Acura when he led sheriff’s deputies on a car chase last year. If found guilty, it will be the fourth time Siackasorn has been convicted of a serious crime in Northern California, records show.

Boctor, 53, and Siackasorn, 42, were among the 123 suspects held on April 24 at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center near Elk Grove by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE. More than a dozen of those inmates have at least five arrests on their criminal records, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of an inmate roster obtained through the state’s Public Records Act.

At the same time, nearly two dozen inmates detained by ICE then were charged with a crime in Sacramento just once, records show. Of those, seven had never been convicted of a crime here, meaning their charges are either pending or have been dismissed.

The broad spectrum of criminal backgrounds of the inmate population is evidence of the widening definition of whom the federal government considers for deportation under President Donald Trump.

While federal authorities were under orders in the past to focus on serious criminals for deportation, ICE is operating under a new set of guidelines that permits agents to apprehend anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. The new guidelines also state that those merely suspected of a crime – but not convicted – are targets for deportation.

ICE agents arrested more than 30,000 convicted criminals around the nation during Trump’s first 100 days in office, the agency reported earlier this month. That number represented a 16 percent jump over last year and was the highest total for the time period since 2014.

At the same time, arrests of suspected undocumented immigrants nationwide without criminal convictions exploded, more than doubling since last year.

“ICE agents and officers have been given clear direction to focus on threats to public safety and national security,” acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said when the numbers were released. “However, when we encounter others who are in the country unlawfully, we will execute our sworn duty and enforce the law.”

Dozens of inmates are housed each day at the Rio Cosumnes facility on what are known as “ICE holds” while they await deportation proceedings. The Sacramento Sheriff’s Department has a five-year, $30.1 million contract to house the suspects for ICE.

Of the ICE inmates at the facility on April 24, more than 50 had arrest records in Sacramento County, records show. Those with criminal backgrounds had faced a wide range of charges, from trespassing to attempted murder. Boctor and another man were charged with crimes 19 times. A third suspect faced local charges 18 times.

However, most of the suspects held at the Rio Cosumnes do not have criminal records in Sacramento County. It’s unclear how many of those have been arrested elsewhere since there is no publicly available statewide database for criminal records. It is also unclear how many of those with arrest records in Sacramento County may have faced additional charges in other parts of the state or country.

In Northern and Central California, more undocumented immigrants without criminal backgrounds are being arrested. ICE agents operating out of the San Francisco field office reported arresting 290 people in that category in Trump’s first 100 days in the region, which includes everything between Bakersfield and the Oregon border, as well as Hawaii, Saipan and Guam. That’s nearly a 250 percent jump from last year. ICE arrests of suspects with criminal convictions are also down slightly this year in the region.

Those inmates at Rio Cosumnes without criminal convictions include Javier Rodas-Hernandez, 29, who was charged with a misdemeanor DUI in March. He has not been convicted and is scheduled to be arraigned next week.

A misdemeanor battery charge against Eleazer Ramirez was dismissed last year. Most of his court file is sealed, but it’s the only criminal charge Ramirez has faced in Sacramento County, records show.

In March, Homan and Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones held a public forum to explain the work done by ICE agents.

That night, Jones described the people ICE targets in the jails as “very bad actors.” Hundreds of protesters there denounced Jones’ cooperation with ICE, including his agreement to hold inmates in the jail and to allow ICE agents access to jails in search of undocumented immigrants.

“There are very violent, dangerous career criminals – some of which happen to be undocumented – that are in our jails,” the sheriff said.

Siackasorn’s case is among the most serious of those currently facing ICE holds.

The Sacramento resident is suspected of leading sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase on a May evening last year. A deputy crashed on Broadway during the pursuit – dislocating his shoulder and cutting his forehead – before Siackasorn was finally apprehended by a sheriff’s K-9 unit, authorities said.

It wasn’t Siackasorn’s first run-in with the law. According to court files, he was convicted of robbery in 1995, drug possession in 2004 and burglary in Solano County in 1994.

Appearing at a brief pretrial hearing in Sacramento Superior Court on Thursday, Siackasorn sat quietly next to his attorney. He helped Judge Michael P. Kenny with the pronunciation of his first name and confirmed he was pleading not guilty. His trial is expected to begin this week.

Still, Sacramento immigration attorney Kristina McKibben said the data analyzed by The Bee shows that Sacramento is not just detaining felons in its ICE cells. She said Jones’ statement that only dangerous criminals should be worried about immigration enforcement is “an empty promise.”

“Most of my clients come to me with no criminal history or minimal criminal history,” she said.