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    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Vehicular homicide not enough to detain illegal immigrants: DHS

    Vehicular homicide not enough to detain illegal immigrants: DHS



    Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana said “ICE will work tirelessly to ensure justice is done” in Eswin Mejia’s capture and arrest. (Associated Press) more >


    By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Monday, April 4, 2016

    Even being convicted of homicide isn’t enough to ensure illegal immigrants are detained by federal agents, the government’s top deportation official said in a letter to Congress released Monday.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana said neither Obama administration policy nor federal law required her agency to detain Edwin Mejia, an illegal immigrant who arrived as part of the surge of unaccompanied children from Central America, after he was charged with vehicular homicide in Nebraska.

    Still, she said her officers should have taken the initiative to detain him of their own volition, and she said she’s notified all of her bureaus nationwide to do a better job of evaluating people they’re called to detain.

    Mr. Mejia stands accused of a drunken-driving accident earlier this year that killed a young Iowa woman in Omaha — but federal immigration agents never showed up to collect him, and after he posted bond with local authorities he absconded.

    “After further review, we believe that further enforcement action would have served an important federal interest in this case,” Ms. Saldana said in a letter to Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, which the senator released Monday.

    ICE said it first encountered Mr. Mejia, who also goes by the first name Eswin, at the border in Arizona in May 2013. He was a 16-year-old at the time, and the Border Patrol, acting under President Obama’s interpretation of the law, admitted him and shipped him to social services, then eventually sent him to live with his brother here in the U.S. Ms. Saldana did not say whether the brother was in the U.S. legally.

    In January, police say, Mr. Mejia was street racing while drunk when he struck the vehicle driven by Sarah Root, 21. She died from her injuries, while he posted bond on the homicide charge, and ICE officers did not come pick him up for detention, allowing him to disappear into the shadows.

    Now ICE is scrambling to try to find him. Ms. Saldana said her agency has even asked Honduran officials to see if he shows up back there.

    Mr. Sasse was not satisfied with the response, calling Ms. Saldana’s response “an embarrassment” to her agency. He has elevated the issue to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, demanding to know who specifically was responsible for deciding not to send out officers to pick up Mr. Mejia.

    “Why did ICE decline to detain Mr. Mejia, despite several requests to do so by the Douglas County Police Department? Were each of these requests denied on a case-by-case basis?” Mr. Sasse said in his letter to Mr. Johnson.

    Ms. Saldana, in her letter to Mr. Sasse, said being charged with vehicular homicide wasn’t enough to make Mr. Mejia a priority under the standards set by Mr. Obama and Mr. Johnson in 2014. In fact, even if he were convicted of the charge, ICE still wouldn’t have to hold him, Ms. Saldana said.

    “Even if he were convicted of the offense, motor vehicle homicide — driving under the influence, the conviction would not constitute a crime of violence under the immigration laws, and consequently, would not constitute an aggravated felony,” she wrote. “The conviction would not render him subject to mandatory detention, nor would it significantly impact his eligibility to apply for relief or protection from removal.”

    At a Senate hearing last month Ms. Saldana had said her officers didn’t come to collect Mr. Mejia because Root wasn’t yet dead, so the case didn’t rise to their priorities. Her letter Monday, however, says that even though she was dead, her agents wouldn’t have necessarily considered Mr. Mejia a priority.

    Under pressure from activists who said the number of deportations was too high, and after deciding that the number included too many rank-and-file illegal immigrants, Mr. Obama and Mr. Johnson in 2014 announced a new policy of only deporting those with the most serious of criminal records.

    Those policies mean that more than 9 million of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. have little fear of being kicked out.
    Mr. Mejia, however, was already facing deportation under his unaccompanied minor case, though that proceeding has dragged on. His court appearance was slated for later this month — nearly three years after he first entered the U.S.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...illegal-immig/





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    Illegal immigrant's deadly crash not a 'crime of violence,' ICE says

    Published April 06, 2016 FoxNews.com

    An illegal immigrant -- who police said was drunk while street racing when he killed a Nebraska woman in a car crash -- wasn’t detained by immigration officials because his offense did “not constitute a crime of violence,” the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said in a March letter to Congress.

    Edwin Mejia, 19, is accused of being drunk and driving recklessly when his vehicle slammed into 21-year-old Sarah Root’s car in January.

    Root died at the hospital. Mejia later posted bond and fled. He’s been added to ICE’s “Most Wanted” list.

    “Mr. Mejia should not need to be on this list – he should be in jail,” Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said in a March 30 statement. “ICE originally said that Mr. Mejia was not an ‘enforcement priority,’ but this morning he was placed on their Most Wanted list. The public still does not have a complete account of what went wrong.”

    Sasse has been pressing for answers since his office issued a Feb. 29 letter to ICE Director Sarah Saldana. He called Saldana’s eventual response “bureaucratic nonsense” and wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on April 4 seeking a response that was not “an embarrassment to the hardworking men and women” at DHS.

    Border agents first encountered Mejia in May 2013 when the 16-year-old arrived in Nogales, Ariz., from Honduras and was designated as an unaccompanied child, according to ICE’s initial response letter to Sasse. “As required by law,” Mejia was transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which then shipped him to Omaha in 2014 to live with his brother. It’s not clear if Mejia’s brother was legally in the U.S.

    After Mejia’s January 2016 arrest for motor vehicle homicide, ICE officials “encountered Mr. Mejia just once,” but they did not file a detainer.

    While Mejia’s actions didn’t fit the requirements for issuing a mandatory detainer, DHS personnel have discretionary ability to issue a detainer if the “removal of such alien would serve an important federal interest.”

    “After further review, we believe that further enforcement action would have served an important federal interest in this case…,” the ICE response letter said

    Illegal immigrant's deadly crash not a 'crime of violence,' ICE says | Fox News


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