Christopher Puente, an illegal felon wanted since 2019 by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, allegedly sexually assaulted a 3-year-old girl in the bathroom of a McDonald’s restaurant in Chicago on Feb. 17.
The following day, he was arrested on an unrelated trespassing charge. Chicago police then tied him to the McDonald’s attack based on surveillance footage that placed him at the scene.
Days later at Puente’s bond hearing, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said Puente had since confessed to the crime.
“He said that the victim called out, ‘Daddy, daddy,'” and so he covered the little girl’s mouth, Murphy said.
In what has now become a heartbreaking and infuriating cliché, Puente never should have been in the United States to begin with.
He was deported back to Mexico in 2014 but returned just days later to commit further crimes, according to a news release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
When he slipped back over the border just five days after being deported, he claimed he was an American citizen. He was charged with that false claim and ordered to attend an immigration hearing.
In a surprise to no one, Puente skipped his hearing and was ordered deported in absentia in 2017.
When Chicago police arrested Puente in June 2019 on theft charges, ICE issued an immigration detainer.
But Chicago police, well aware of Puente’s lengthy criminal history, including two incidents of forced entry burglary — a felony — ignored the ICE detainer, and released him back into the community, where he allegedly went on to sexually assault the little girl.
When Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was confronted about the sexual assault, she not only defended her city’s actions but also doubled down on its sanctuary policy, according to WBBM-TV.
“We have said very clearly, we are a welcoming city, we are a sanctuary city,” she said. “Chicago Police Department will not cooperate with ICE on any immigration-related business and that has affected their ability to conduct immigration raids across the city, but that’s exactly our intention. We have to make sure that our police department is seen as a legitimate force in all communities, and we cannot do that if we are participating in raids with a weaponized and politicized ICE.”
“We are doing what is necessary to keep our residents safe all the time, 24/7,” Lightfoot continued. “If ICE is complaining then they should do their job better.”
Lightfoot is nauseating.
The ICE detainer for Puente was not part of any raid, but simply a request not to release him. All Chicago police had to do was wait for ICE to pick up Puente in their custody.
And despite what many activists might argue, Congress has never established any process requiring a judicial warrant prior to taking immigration violators into custody.
Instead, the Chicago police decided to ignore ICE’s request and release Puente in defiance of federal law. So it looks like if anything has been “weaponized and politicized” it is, unfortunately, the Chicago Police Department.
Chicago is clearly not keeping residents safe because its sanctuary policy is racist, dehumanizing and inhumane.
The policy is racist because it elevates a person’s race as a de-facto status that supersedes the reach of law enforcement.
Would Chicago also release criminal felons who are already U.S. citizens? Of course not — they turn them over to the proper federal authorities.
But wanted criminal felons like Puente are placed above the law because they are here illegally. They never have to worry about being turned over to federal authorities, even if they are already in custody.
The policy is also inhumane and dehumanizes law-abiding people.
It is inhumane to release wanted criminals back into communities where they can continue to terrorize and abuse. When this is done, the basic civil and human rights of everyone else are dehumanized, as they are not being treated as equal human beings.
If Chicago officials really want to avoid atrocities like this poor little girl’s assault and make sure their police are viewed as “a legitimate force in all communities,” they can start by reversing their policy regarding releasing wanted illegal criminal felons.
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