Immigration and Customs Enforcement failed to deport two illegal immigrants who are now being investigated for a July 4th shooting that resulted in the death of a Massachusetts grandmother.
Illegal immigrants Wilton Lara-Calmona and Jose M. Lara-Mejia lived above Mirta Rivera, a 41-year-old grandmother, in Lawrence, Mass. The Boston Herald reports they were arrested on July 4, 2015 for murder and drug charges after a 4:26 AM 911 call summoned Lawrence Police Officer Frank Bradley to their Exchange Street apartment.
Bradley entered the grandmother’s apartment to a gruesome scene and found the victim “lying supine on the bed, pulseless, not breathing, eyes fixed front, staring straight at the ceiling,” according to his record.
He then saw a clearly marked bullet hole had ruptured the ceiling. The officer rushed upstairs where “the smell of fresh burnt gun powder was strong and evident.”
The two suspects were arrested along with 22-year-old Christopher Paganmoux. Officers searched outside and found a Sears and Roebuck .270 bolt action rifle which matched the bullet hole found in Mirta Rivera’s bed. The 3 men also had cocaine and heroin in the apartment.
Authorities have dealt with the suspects in the past, but failed to properly deport them. Lara-Meija was arrested for crossing the Mexican-American border illegally in August 2013. Despite ICE issuing a deportation order, he stayed in the country. He was considered an ICE fugitive after failing to appear before the immigration court in April 2014.
His accomplice, Lara-Calmona, was deported 3 years ago, but arrested again in November 2014. It is unclear why authorities failed to deport the man a second time.
Critics are scrutinizing ICE for their insufficient deportation policy. The Center For Immigration Studies argues the federal agency is putting legal citizens at risk.
Director of policy studies for the organization, Jessica Vaughan, says the government is hanging a huge “welcome back” sign for illegal immigrants.
Vaughan specifically places blame at the feet of the Obama administration, saying that the president is not only allowing, but pressuring officials to ignore immigration laws that could save lives.
“The Obama administration is being way too generous and allowing people who are public safety threats to remain here,” Vaughan said. “Illegal immigrants who have already been deported see a reason to come back because they are not afraid of immigration enforcement once they get here.”
This case comes as numerous Democratic candidates have voiced support for sanctuary cities, or cities that willfully ignore federal deportation policy. Cities like San Francisco that implore and advocate for lax deportation policies are now being blamed for the deaths of citizens at the hands of illegal immigrants.