U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released an illegal immigrant and alleged child rapist — who is accused of incest — because he has a child who is a U.S. citizen and has no prior criminal convictions or immigration violations.
After being released, the suspect, Amado Espinoza-Ramirez, escaped his ankle bracelet. He skipped out on his next immigration court hearing and is now a fugitive from justice, free in the United States.
ICE’s explanation for Espinoza-Ramirez’s release is part of a press release by Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas. The Judiciary Committee has oversight over immigration policy.
Smith was moved to act following a report from The Daily Caller on Espinoza-Ramirez, who was picked up in Chicago and ultimately charged with 42 counts of predatory sexual acts. On Sept. 2, ICE took custody of Espinoza-Ramirez, releasing him with an ankle bracelet monitor later that same day.
The suspect failed to show up for his scheduled hearing on Nov. 18. ICE would provide no information on how he might have maneuvered out of the bracelet.
ICE issued a statement to Smith that was identical to one quoted in TheDC report, except for one additional sentence: “The decision to release Mr. Espinoza-Ramirez from ICE custody was made based on the fact that he had no prior criminal convictions, no prior immigration violations, and is the parent of a U.S. citizen child.”
As a result of that added information, Smith issued this statement:
“It’s insulting to Americans that ICE deliberately released a criminal immigrant suspected of multiple counts of child rape back onto our streets. This reckless decision is ultimately a failure of the Obama administration’s lax immigration policies. And it shows that this administration is willing to put illegal and criminal immigrants ahead of the safety of our children.”
“Obama administration officials have made clear that it is not their priority to deport and detain all illegal and criminal immigrants. The administration has issued new deportation guidelines that could allow potentially millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. without a vote of Congress. And the president’s budget slashes funding for detention space and instead funds programs that release illegal and criminal immigrants into our communities.”
Smith’s office stated that the case of Amado Espinoza-Ramirez is an extreme example of a larger problem. Back in November, the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena for the records of every suspect that was brought to the attention of ICE, but ICE decided not to act on the information.
The House Judiciary Committee wanted to use the data to cross-reference against criminal records to determine how many people who wound up in ICE custody were ultimately released and went on to commit further crimes.
The House Judiciary Committee would specifically like to investigate the effectiveness of a June 2011 memo from ICE Director John Morton, which was supposed to guide ICE agents in identifying dangerous suspects.
Initially, critics of the Obama administration seized on the fact that Morton directed ICE agents not to pursue suspects whose only violation was of immigration law. The memo has since come under fire because its implementation has led to numerous dangerous criminals being released. Amado Espinoza-Ramirez is the latest example to gain media attention.