In what appears to be a growing national trend, another elected law enforcement official released an illegal immigrant with a serious criminal conviction—in this case child sex offenses—rather than turn him over to federal authorities for removal. Sanctuary policies ban local law enforcement from honoring Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers placed on illegal aliens who have been arrested on local criminal charges. If the detainer is honored ICE takes custody and deports the criminal rather than release him or her back into the community. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and free serious criminal offenders, it undermines the federal government’s duty to protect public safety.
This latest case comes out of Buncombe County, North Carolina where the recently elected sheriff, a Democrat, issued a policy earlier this year refusing to cooperate with ICE when it comes to inmates at his 608-bed jail who are in the country illegally. At the time the sheriff, Quentin Miller, proclaimed that enforcing immigration laws is not part of his agency’s duties. Miller also said that “it is vital that members of our immigrant community can call the sheriff’s office without fear when they are in need of assistance from law enforcement.”
Hiding behind that popular open borders rhetoric, the sheriff recently discharged a child sex offender to keep with his county’s sanctuary policy of protecting illegal aliens, even those with atrocious criminal records. The illegal immigrant from El Salvador, Marvin Ramirez Torres, has been on ICE’s radar since 2017 when he got arrested and charged with four felony counts of statutory sex offense with a child. At the time Torres was 23 and his victim was an 11-year-old girl, according to a local newspaper report that also states Torres must register a sex offender for 30 years. The illegal alien was convicted in North Carolina Superior Court for Buncombe County and was sentenced to less than two years in prison. Last week he was freed into the community because the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office refused to honor the federal detainer.
Thankfully, ICE captured Torres a day after he left prison during a targeted enforcement operation in downtown Asheville. The agency blasted county officials in a statement released shortly after Torres was apprehended. “By releasing an illegal alien with a serious sex offense against a child, Buncombe County chose to release a serious public safety threat into the Asheville community where he was free to potentially harm others until his capture by ICE,” the statement reads. In the document, the agency’s acting director, Matt Albence, points out the obvious: “Continued decisions to refuse cooperation with ICE serve as an open invitation to aliens who commit criminal offenses that these counties are a safe haven for persons seeking to evade federal authorities, and residents of Buncombe County are less safe due to these misguided sanctuary policies.” ICE’s regional field director accuses elected law enforcement officials who chose to ignore ICE detainers and arrest warrants of failing to protect their communities and placing politics above public safety.
Incredibly, it is a growing national trend among law enforcement officials that has gained enormous traction throughout North Carolina. About a month ago Judicial Watch reported that nearly 500 illegal immigrants with ICE detainers were discharged into communities throughout the Tar Heel State in less than a year. The offenders included those charged with serious crimes such as homicide, kidnapping, arson and sex offenses. A few weeks before the statewide figures were released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Judicial Watch reported that the elected sheriff in North Carolina’s largest county, Mecklenburg, released numerous violent offenders rather than turn them over to federal authorities for removal. Among hem was a previously deported Honduran charged with rape and child sex offenses. Though they are charged with enforcing the law in counties located about 120 miles from each other, the sheriffs in Buncombe and Mecklenburg counties share the common bond of protecting illegal immigrants who commit the most heinous of crimes in the jurisdiction they were elected to protect. For Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden it was actually a campaign promise. Immediately after getting elected in 2018, he ended the program known as 287(g) that notifies ICE of jail inmates in the country illegally.