While Philadelphia is a so-called sanctuary city, officials had maintained that they would honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers as long as they included a criminal arrest order signed by a judge. But actions speak louder than words.
In June, ICE agents sought and obtained a criminal arrest warrant from the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania for Guillermo Leon-Sandoval, who had already been deported in 2014, according to an ICE press release,
Despite asserting that they would honor detainer requests if a judge had signed off, Philadelphia police arrested and charged him with unlawful restraint/serious bodily injury, false imprisonment and other crimes associated with the assault of his wife. And then they released him.
Thankfully, ICE agents tracked him down and took him into custody. But it is not the first time police have populated the streets with criminal aliens.
In May, ICE conducted a weeklong enforcement operation targeting criminal aliens throughout Philadelphia that resulted 49 arrests. Of those detained, 17 had criminal convictions and 14 had were previously released from Philadelphia County custody, despite having an ICE detainer lodged against them.
“Some of these dangerous individuals had been released to the streets instead of being turned over to ICE on our detainers, which compromises the safety of the homeland that ICE officers strive to protect every day. ICE will continue conducting operations to execute its mission and bring to justice those subjects who jeopardize the sanctity of our immigration laws and the safety of our citizens,” said Gregory Brawley, director of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations field office in Philadelphia.
And everyone can be grateful for that.