OKLAHOMA CITY – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested Antonio Ulises Perez, a 38-year-old illegal immigrant from El Salvador charged with first-degree rape, Wednesday after the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) failed to honor an ICE detainer and released him from custody.
According to ICE documents, almost immediately following his release from the Oklahoma County Jail on October 9, Ulises Perez went to the home of the woman and raped her.
Under federal law, ICE has the authority to lodge immigration detainers with law enforcement agencies who have custody of individuals arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens. The detainer form advises law enforcement agencies 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.
Under this authority, ICE lodged an immigration detainer with the OCSO on October 8, requesting that they transfer custody of Ulises Perez to ICE in the event he was scheduled to be released from OCSO custody. However, OCSO refused to honor the immigration detainer in direct contravention of federal immigration law and released Ulises Perez from their custody.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated event. A few months ago, Oklahoma County decided to no longer honor ICE detainers and began releasing criminal illegal immigrants back into the local community at the expense of law-abiding citizens.
“It is unconscionable that someone who is sworn to uphold the law would find it acceptable to release an alleged rapist who is illegally present in the U.S. back into the community when there are other options available under federal immigration law,” said Marc Moore, field office director for ICE Dallas. “Within a few hours of being released, this illegal alien was back at the home of the rape victim where he was free to re-victimize her and harm other members of the community. Fortunately, ICE deportation officers were able to quickly locate this individual and safely take him back into custody.”
On September 30, Ulises Perez was arrested by the OCSO and charged with first-degree rape. On October 8, ICE interviewed Perez in person, and lodged an immigration detainer with the OCSO, advising them to transfer custody of Ulises Perez to ICE in the event that he was scheduled to be released from local custody. On October 9, at approximately 3 a.m., the active detainer was not honored, and the OCSO released Ulises Perez on bond from the Oklahoma County Jail. On October 9, ICE deportation officers arrested Ulises Perez in Oklahoma City. He remains in ICE custody pending disposition of his immigration proceedings.
ICE says they are focused on removing public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges. Nationally, approximately 90 percent of all people arrested by ICE during the fiscal year 2019 either had a criminal conviction, a pending criminal charge, had illegally re-entered the United States after being previously removed (a federal felony) or were an immigration fugitive subject to a final order of removal.
Approximately 70 percent of the arrests ICE makes happen after ICE is notified about an alien being released from local jails or state prisons. In the fiscal year 2019, ICE has lodged more than 160,000 detainers with local law enforcement agencies.
ICE lodges detainers on individuals who have been arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens. The detainer 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 custody. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission.
Congress has established no process, requirement, or expectation directing ICE to seek a judicial warrant from already overburdened federal courts before taking custody of an alien on civil immigration violations. This idea is simply a figment created by those who wish to undermine immigration enforcement and excuse the ill-conceived practices of sanctuary jurisdictions that put politics before public safety.
When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release a criminal alien onto the streets, this negatively impacts public safety and ICE’s efficiency in the apprehension of criminal illegal immigrants.
Federal immigration laws authorize DHS to issue detainers and provide ICE broad authority to detain removable aliens.
ICE officials say that any official within a law enforcement agency who refuses to enforce detainer requests should be held accountable to the highest penalty…without the protection of sovereign immunity.