Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley is determined to figure out the past of a potentially illegal immigrant who ran over 12-year-old Lea Phann Sept. 8 in Des Moines.
Grassley sent a letter Tuesday to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson inquiring about Fernando Lopez Aguilar and his immigration status. Eighteen-year-old Aguilar is behind bars for reckless driving that resulted in Phann dying from her injuries Sept. 11.
The illegal immigrant at the center of Grassley’s investigation was a beneficiary of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program. Grassley states in his letter to Johnson that it seems Lopez Aguilar is no longer part of the DACA program and that he is in the U.S. illegally.
Phann lost her life when Aguilar sped through a stop sign, making three cars crash into one another and injuring five other people. Iowa’s senior senator is demanding that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provide him with answers to nine different questions before September 26.
Among the several questions that Grassley wants DHS to answer are if Lopez Aguilar has ever been arrested in the past or previously deported. Since Aguilar’s arrest, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have gotten in touch with the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, which manages the jail holding the Aguilar.
If Aguilar makes bond, ICE would likely take the kid-killer into their custody. ICE, which is part of DHS, is making the request because of Aguilar’s immigrant status and they would then leave him in jail or take him to one of their detention facilities.
Grassley is running for reelection and is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which deals extensively with immigration matters. The Iowan supports Donald Trump’s candidacy for president and has said of Trump’s border wall proposal, “I’ve supported the wall, I have supported the financing of the wall and that doesn’t mean a physical wall all the way across the border.”
The incumbent senator has a strong lead against his opponent, Democrat Patty Judge, 49.3 percent to 40.7 percent according to RealClearPolitics’ polling average.
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