The man accused of a brutal sexual assault of an Oregon woman is a “serial immigration violator” who was previously released from the Multnomah County Jail despite a formal detention request, federal officials confirmed Friday.
Sergio Jose Martinez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, had been deported at least 13 times since 2008, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson Virginia Kice confirmed to Portland’s KATU2. Martinez, 31, was also the subject of an ICE detainer request placed Dec. 7, 2016 with the Multnomah County Jail, where he was being held on local charges.
Because Oregon law prohibits police from using agency resources to enforce immigration law, jail officials released Martinez the following day without notifying ICE.
“ICE last encountered Mr. Martinez Dec. 7, 2016, at the Multnomah County Jail and lodged an immigration detainer against him at that time requesting that the agency be notified prior to his release,” Kice said in a statement. “However, despite the detainer, local authorities released Mr. Martinez back into the community the following day without providing any notification to ICE.”
Martinez is accused of two separate attacks against women in Portland on Monday, reports local CBS affiliate KOIN. Police say Martinez first broke into the apartment of a 65-year-old woman, bound her hands and feet with scarves, and proceeded to sexually assault her.
Later that day, he confronted a woman in a parking garage with a knife and threatened to kill her. Police suspect that Martinez was attempting to kidnap the woman as she left work.
As KOIN reports, Martinez has a lengthy criminal history in Oregon and California. He has been arrested at least 20 times for offenses ranging from burglary and drug possession to auto theft and hit and run, according to police records. Along with local charges, Martinez has been deported back to Mexico on several occasions, most recently on Nov. 2, 2016.
Oregon has for many years been one of the nation’s most restrictive states when it comes to allowing local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. A 1986 law prevents police from using any resources to arrest or detain people whose “only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign citizenship present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.” The Oregon legislature passed a law in late June that expands that prohibition to all “public bodies” within the state.
Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) policy prevents the agency from honoring ICE detainers, which are administrative requests to hold a criminal alien for up to 48 hours so ICE officers can take the suspect into custody. MCSO only holds suspects for immigration agents if they are subject to a federal arrest warrant signed by a judge or magistrate.
Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese explained in a September 2016 statement that MCSO policy is determined by Oregon law and a 2014 federal court decision in Miranda-Olivares v. Clackamas County, Oregon. In that case, magistrate Judge Janice Stewart ruled that holding illegal alien based on an ICE detainer is a violation of the Fourth Amendment if the detention request is not backed by a federal arrest warrant.
ICE has lodged another detainer against Martinez, reports The Oregonian.
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