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November 29, 2023Richmond, VA, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ERO Washington, D.C. operation results in prison time for previously convicted noncitizen who unlawfully reentered US

RICHMOND, Va. — A targeted operation conducted by Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Washington, D.C. resulted in an undocumented noncitizen receiving a four-year prison sentence for illegally reentering the United States after being removed in 2022. Jose Gonzalez-Flores, 33, an undocumented noncitizen from Guatemala, received the prison sentence at the U.S. District Court in Richmond Nov. 20.

“Jose Gonzalez-Flores is responsible for the death of a four-year-old boy,” said ERO Washington, D.C. acting Field Office Director Patrick Divver. “Furthermore, he displayed a flagrant disregard for American laws when he fled the scene of the accident that killed that boy. He exhibited further contempt for our laws by reentering the U.S. after being removed. ERO Washington, D.C. will not allow the residents of our communities to be placed in harm’s way by such criminals. We will continue to aggressively pursue any individual presenting such a threat to our neighborhoods.”

Gonzalez-Flores was unlawfully present in the United States when he killed a four-year-old child in a car wreck in August 2018. He was driving a pickup truck that struck the rear of a sedan belonging to a family of four. The collision killed the family’s youngest son. Immediately after the wreck, Gonzalez-Flores got out of his truck, surveyed the scene and fled.

Gonzalez-Flores was arrested a few days later. The Chesterfield County Circuit Court convicted Gonzalez-Flores of involuntary manslaughter and drug possession in April 2019. The state judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison but suspended all but 3½ years. The judge also ordered Gonzalez Flores not to unlawfully reenter the United States following his imprisonment and subsequent removal.

ERO removed Gonzalez-Flores from the United States to Guatemala in January 2022 following the completion of his prison sentence.

One year later, Gonzalez-Flores unlawfully reentered the United States without admission, inspection or parole by an immigration official. He settled in Virginia. Deportation officers from ERO Washington, D.C. apprehended Gonzalez-Flores after learning of his whereabouts.

After he completes his prison sentence, Gonzalez-Flores will again be removed from the United States.

This targeted operation was conducted by ERO Washington, D.C. with significant assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

ERO conducts removals of individuals without a lawful basis to remain in the United States, including at the order of immigration judges with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). EOIR is a separate entity from DHS and ICE. Immigration judges in these courts make decisions based on the merits of each individual case, determining if a noncitizen is subject to a final order of removal or eligible for certain forms of relief from removal.

As one of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) three operational directorates, ERO is the principal federal law enforcement authority in charge of domestic immigration enforcement. ERO’s mission is to protect the homeland through the arrest and removal of those who undermine the safety of U.S. communities and the integrity of U.S. immigration laws, and its primary areas of focus are interior enforcement operations, management of the agency’s detained and non-detained populations, and repatriation of noncitizens who have received final orders of removal. ERO’s workforce consists of more than 7,700 law enforcement and non-law enforcement support personnel across 25 domestic field offices and 208 locations nationwide, 30 overseas postings, and multiple temporary duty travel assignments along the border.