Back in April, a blog about alien criminals re-entering the United States was intended to be a one-time piece. Since then, it has evolved into a series as a result of the glut of examples of previously deported foreign felons taking advantage of our porous borders – in effect using them as a revolving door into our country. The following is the third blog in this series (preceding blogs may be accessed here and here), and all examples contained within come from FAIR’s archive of serious crimes committed by illegal aliens.
- On September 24, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) located and arrested Elder Amador-Lopez, a citizen of Guatemala. He had been arrested by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff Office (North Carolina) on charges of allegedly assaulting a female and driving while intoxicated on August 23. Mecklenburg County police ignored an ICE detainer and released him four days later. Amador-Lopez had been deported from the U.S. in March and April of 2014.
- On September 18, Pedro Salas-Lopez was sentenced to 60 years in prison for stabbing brothers Daniel Mendez-Lopez and Alfonso Mendez-Lopez to death in a Fort Wayne, Indiana, motel room on December 24, 2019. Salas-Lopez had only arrived in Fort Wayne from Kentucky to work in a local Mexican restaurant and was staying with the brothers. A judge stated that Salas-Lopez had been convicted of re-entry of a deported felon and had illegally entered the U.S. three times.
- On September 4, ICE agents in Colorado captured Honduran national Celin Villeda-Orellana at Denver International Airport. He had originally been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a child by the Denver Police Department in February, but the Denver Justice Center ignored an ICE detainer and instead released the illegal alien back into the community. Villeda-Orellana had previously been removed in 2007. In November 2018 he was once again apprehended by the Border Patrol near Rio Grande, Arizona, but was subsequently released on an order of supervision because he entered as part of a “family unit.”
- On July 2, ICE arrested Mexican national Roberto Montes-Lopez he was released from the Weber County Jail, which is located outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He was taken into custody without incident, in large part because local officials cooperated with federal authorities by honoring an ICE detainer request. Montes-Lopez had been deported from the U.S. four times between 2004 and 2011, and was federally prosecuted for illegally reentering in 2012. His criminal history extends back more than fifteen years and includes arrests from several states beginning in 2005 with one of his most recent convictions being for sexually abusing a child (June 2015) and another for possession and distribution of heroin (June 2020).
As the above cases show, for some illegal alien criminals – who seem to view America’s laws and borders as a joke – deportation is an insufficient deterrent in and of itself. These people may be dangerous, but they are not stupid. They know well that our border with Mexico has been relatively easy – way too easy, in fact – to slip through for decades. They also know, as did Villeda-Orellana, that they can game our system, e.g. by claiming to be part of a “family unit,” to get their foot in the door. This was true under the quite lax Obama administration, and, sadly, remains true to some degree under the Trump administration (largely due to congressional and legal obstruction). Of course, this is changing with stricter enforcement, the closing of loopholes, and ongoing border wall construction (360 miles completed as of October 12), but we are by no means “out of the woods” quite yet. Even so, every new mile of border wall slowly but steadily eliminates the incentives for alien criminals to continue re-entering the country after being removed.