An illegal alien who killed an American citizen while street racing was released and fled to Mexico, thanks to Oregon’s sanctuary state status.
On July 12, Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a crash in Beaverton in northern Oregon.
According to the sheriff’s office, 20-year-old Alejandro Maldonado-Hernandez plowed into the car of Patrick Ator, who was taken to a local hospital with severe injuries. His wife of 57 years, Janice, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Maldonado-Hernandez was arrested and charged with manslaughter in the second degree, assault in the third degree and reckless driving.
However, he posted bail and on Aug. 8, authorities set him free, failing to honor a detainer request made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Under federal law, ICE has the authority to lodge immigration detainers with law enforcement partners who have custody of individuals arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens,” ICE explained last week in a news release regarding Maldonado-Hernandez’s case.
“The detainer form asks the other law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of release and to maintain custody of the alien for a brief period of time so that ICE can take custody of that person in a safe and secure setting upon release from that agency’s custody,” the news release states.
“Yet, across the United States, several jurisdictions refuse to honor detainers and instead choose to willingly release criminal offenders back into their local communities where they are free to offend.”
Surprise, surprise, Maldonado-Hernandez decided not to hang around for his criminal prosecution. Investigators learned in late August that he had fled to Mexico.
“The decision to rebuff immigration detainers and not to hold dangerous individuals until ICE arrives to pick them up is a costly one,” said Nathalie Asher, Seattle field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations.
The man who was in the vehicle accident told local Fox affiliate KPTV that he is still trying to cope with the loss of his wife.
“When it was all over, I woke up and looked over at my wife. She wasn’t talking. I felt her pulse and there was no pulse. In my head I said, ‘Lord, why don’t you take me too?’” he recalled.
“We were totally happy,” Ator said.
“She was a great mother, an incredible grandmother and a lot of fun to be with,” daughter Deborah Goldstein added.
Officials at Washington County Sheriff’s Office said they are not responsible for Maldonado-Hernandez’s escape to Mexico because they were simply following state law.
Sheriff Pat Garrett said in a statement to KPTV that ICE detainers are not enforceable in Oregon.
“The continuing refusal of ICE agents to provide necessary legal justification for holding people they believe are a danger to our community is the real problem, not the sheriff’s office insistence on following state law,” he said.
The sheriff claimed that ICE needed a warrant or an order signed by a judge for Washington County to detain him.
Asher does not see it that way.
“There is nothing that should prevent local law enforcement officials from making a simple phone call to notify ICE that a criminal alien is being released,” she said. “The decision to continue to cite misguided sanctuary laws that allow dangerous criminals back on the streets, and many times the opportunity to flee prosecution, is irresponsible and jeopardizes public safety.”
“It is real slap in the face to the victims friends and family when criminal aliens, in this case a man who has caused the death of a woman and severe injuries to her husband, are released into the community due to dangerous sanctuary policies,” Asher added.
“How many lives have to be lost before politicians are more concerned about public safety than their own political agendas?”
It’s time for politicians to do their job and put the safety of American citizens first.
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