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Enforcement and Removal
11/08/2019

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ICE officers in Va. capture unlawfully present Guatemalan man released by Montgomery County, Md.

WASHINGTON – Today, officers from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Washington field office arrested Luis Fredy Hernandez Morales, 48, at his residence in Springfield, Va. Hernandez was charged on Nov. 5 by the Montgomery County District Court with sexual abuse of a minor.

Hernandez was released by Montgomery County Detention Center (MCDC) despite a detainer lodged by immigration officials on Nov. 5. The detainer was not honored, and Hernandez was released on bond on Nov. 6.

“We are committed to protecting our communities from the depraved acts of offenders with or without the support of local law enforcement agencies, but this case shows how the noncooperation policies of one jurisdiction can have serious public safety impacts on its neighbors” said Washington Field Office Director Russell Hott.

This arrest is the latest in a continuing list of public safety threats Montgomery County, MD has released into the community rather than allow a lawful transfer into ICE custody.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act as passed by Congress, ICE detainers, removal orders issued by federal immigration judges, and ICE immigration enforcement in general, is conducted under civil law. The “judicial warrant” demanded by advocacy groups applies to criminal cases and does not exist for civil law matters.

However, for every detainer ICE issues the agency also provides an accompanying administrative warrant, or a warrant of removal along with the detainer, which is the warrant that does exist for matters governed under civil law.

About Detainers

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.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/12/2019