Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney performed a celebration dance in June when a federal judge ruled the Department of Justice (DOJ) could not withhold funds from the city due to their sanctuary status.
But there were no dances on Tuesday when U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain argued that if it were not for the city’s sanctuary policies, criminal alien Juan Ramon Vasquez would not have had the opportunity to rape a child.
“Those of us in the law enforcement business should be doing everything in our power to protect vulnerable children from predators like Vasquez. Instead, this defendant received a free pass from the City of Philadelphia and its Department of Prisons, headed straight back into our community, and committed a heinous crime he never would have had the chance to commit had the City of Philadelphia complied with the ICE detainer,” charged McSwain.
At a press conference to announce that Vasquez, who was deported back to his native Honduras in 2009, had entered guilty plea to criminal re-entry, McSwain said the case highlights “the danger posed by the City of Philadelphia’s decision to disregard ICE detainers and release previously deported aliens from local custody.”
And the facts of the case back him up.
Vasquez was detained and placed into the custody of the Philadelphia Department of Prisons in 2014, but was released after Philadelphia would not honor an ICE detainer.
The Vasquez outrage is not the first time Philadelphia’s mayor has allowed criminals to walk back into the lives of law-abiding residents.
- In June, ICE arrested Guillermo Leon-Sandoval, who had an active detainer and criminal arrest order signed by a federal judge, but Philly police let him into the community nonetheless. He had been charged with assault and unlawful restraint/serious bodily injury related to an incident with his estranged wife.
- As part of an enforcement effort across several states, ICE arrested a 52-year-old male citizen of Lithuania, with three criminal convictions for driving under the influence, but was released in February 2017 by Philadelphia Police after refusing to honor an ICE detainer.
- In July 2015, police arrested and charged Winston Enrique Perez Pilarte with attempted rape and indecent assault on a minor. Although ICE’s request that he be held in custody, he was released after posting $25,000 – 10 percent of the $250,000 bail set by a judge. After months of work, ICE managed to locate and arrest him in September 2016.
- Holston Doe, a 42-year old Liberian, illegally entered the U.S. in 2004 and proceeded to commit multiple crimes before his conviction in Delaware County for aggravated assault in August 2017. Despite his criminal conviction and being required to register as a sex offender, Philadelphia refused to honor a second ICE detainer and released Doe back into the community in October. Thankfully, ICE arrested him in December and he is currently awaiting deportation.
In addition to the immeasurable costs to the victims of these preventable crimes, taxpayers are saddled with the financial burden of housing these criminals.
For example, Vasquez is currently serving 8 to 10 years for raping a child and unlawful sexual contact with a minor. According to a 2017 Vera Institute report, the state will spend on an annual basis $42,727 to feed and house him – and every other criminal alien in prison.
For U.S. Attorney McSwain and other immigration enforcement authorities, there is no time for a celebratory dance when battling criminal aliens and the politicians who provide them sanctuary.