The case of an illegal alien raping a child in Philadelphia and subsequently being convicted for the crime should never have happened if local authorities complied with an ICE detainer, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday.
During an appearance on Fox News, host Sean Hannity asked Nielsen about the case that has made headlines nationwide.
“It could have been prevented and it should have been prevented,” Nielsen said. “We owe the American people better.”
According to a Department of Justice release, Honduras citizen Juan Ramon Vasquez was deported from the United States in 2009 after he came here illegally. Five years later, he was back in the U.S. and in the custody of the Philadelphia Department of Prisons.
Vasquez was released, however, when local law enforcement officials did not follow an ICE detainer for him because Philadelphia is a sanctuary city. At some point after that, Vasquez was arrested and charged with raping a child and is now serving a sentence of eight to 20 years.
“This is a perfect example of when jurisdictions decide not to cooperate with federal law enforcement, we put our communities at risk,” Nielsen said.
Much has been made about the case since the DOJ posted a release about it Tuesday.
“The facts of this case highlight the danger posed by the City of Philadelphia’s decision to disregard ICE detainers and release previously deported aliens from local custody,” U.S. Attorney McSwain said.
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