When it was time for a convicted child killer to be released from prison, California officials had two options: honor a long-standing request from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that he be turned over to them, or simply let him free to roam the streets.
According to ICE, state officials simply let Carlos Morales-Ramirez go.
He didn’t enjoy his freedom long, according to an ICE news release.
In 1998, the man was convicted of second-degree murder, assault on a child causing death and great bodily injury to a child causing death.
On Aug. 28, 2013, ICE had filed a detainer with the California Department of Corrections at Pleasant Valley Prison in Chowchilla, California. The detainer is a vehicle used to put a hold on someone being released so that they do not go free.
Even though the request was filed more than seven years ago, on Dec.4, Morales-Ramirez was set free.
“State sanctuary laws grant law enforcement officials the discretion to cooperate with immigration authorities in instances where serious or violent crimes have been committed; again, we are talking about the murder of a child — rather than working with our officers to ensure this convicted aggravated felon was safely handed over to ICE, he was released back into the community and our officers were forced to exhaust more time and resources relocating and re-arresting him,” said ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Los Angeles Field Office Director Dave Marin.
ICE wanted Morales-Ramirez, and ICE got him. On Dec. 10 he was arrested.
He is now being held by ICE, awaiting the outcome of a hearing that could see him deported back to his native country.
“California’s sanctuary policies continue to fail residents by allowing convicted criminals like Morales-Ramirez to walk free — state officials and advocates need to take a hard look at the reality, and potential consequences, of these misguided laws that leave potential victims wildly unprotected from very egregious criminal offenders,” Marin said.
ICE’s release noted, “When local law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its national security mission.”
It also added that during the 2019 federal fiscal year, which ran from Oct. 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2020, ICE arrested individuals with more than 1,900 convictions and charges for homicide, 1,800 for kidnapping, 12,000 sex offenses, 5,000 sexual assaults, 45,000 assaults, 67,000 crimes involving drugs, 10,000 weapons offenses and 74,000 DUIs.
According to ICE, more than 250 of the 730 detainees at the Adelanto Immigration and Customs Enforcement Processing Center near Los Angeles were ordered released in late October.
An ICE news release said many of them have already been arrested by local police agencies.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was very clear that having its hands tied – not being able to process new intakes, an inability to transfer detainees to other detention facilities, and being forced to release egregious criminals from custody – would have a negative impact on the communities its officers are sworn to protect,” Marin said.
“Now we see that this order has resulted in criminals being rearrested, not only for outstanding warrants, but for new crimes, which highlights our point regarding the recidivist nature of many egregious offenders.”
“The fact that some of the released detainees have committed additional crimes demonstrates the dangers of these court-ordered releases and how they can harm the public in the process,” said ICE’s Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director Tony H. Pham.
“We were firm in our warning that these releases would impact public safety, and unfortunately, it did not take long for some of these criminal aliens to re-offend. This proves that many of these aliens are recidivist offenders who should not have been released in the first place.”
Although released detainees were supposed to be tracked with monitoring devices, some detainees tampered with the devices once they were freed.
“We have other individuals who have relocated out of state and failed to report, as required, to their new ICE office; individuals who have appeared to tamper with and/or remove their ATD monitoring devices; and others who cannot be located using the phone numbers and addresses they provided our officers.
“These absconders show a complete lack of regard for the legal system that authorized their release, and our immigration laws and policies,” Pham said.
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