PHILADELPHIA— On Nov. 22, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested an unlawfully present Guatemalan national after he was released from police custody, despite a detainer lodged against him for sexual abuse against children.
Ervin Urrutia-Sagastume was arrested by the Philadelphia Police Department Nov. 12 for sexual abuse against children, including photographing, videotaping, depicting on a computer or filming sexual acts, criminal use of a communication facility, and possession of an instrument of crime. That same day, ICE’s Philadelphia Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) lodged an immigration detainer on Urrutia, but local law enforcement released him onto the streets, without notifying ICE. It took a week for ICE to locate and apprehend this individual.
This is not the first time that Philadelphia Police Department has released a criminal alien back onto the street without notifying ICE. By releasing a criminal with multiple offenses, they are putting their city at risk by letting this individual roam free to potentially harm others.
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. 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. 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.
When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release a criminal alien onto the streets, it negatively impacts public safety.
Sanctuary Policies Put Public Safety at Risk
- Sanctuary policies leave ICE with no choice but to increase enforcement in neighborhoods and workplaces to locate and arrest these persons while they are at-large – increasing the likelihood that other individuals previously not targeted for arrest will be taken into ICE custody.
- It is safer for everyone if ICE takes custody of an alien in the controlled environment of another law enforcement agency as opposed to visiting an alien’s residence, place of work, or other public area. Arresting a criminal in the safety, security, and privacy of a jail is always the best option.
- When law enforcement agencies don’t honor ICE detainers, these individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released onto the street, presenting a potential public safety threat.