Repeat Deportee Who Raped Oregon Woman Sentenced To Eight Years For Illegal Re-Entry

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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  • Sergio Jose Martinez was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison for re-entering the U.S. after being deported at least 11 times.
  • Martinez was convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting an Oregon woman at her home and trying to kidnap another woman in a parking garage.
  • At the time of the attacks, Martinez was the subject of an immigration detention request, but local authorities had released him from jail without notifying immigration agents.

An illegal immigrant from Mexico who kidnapped and raped an Oregon woman in 2017 was sentenced to eight years in federal prison Monday for re-entering the U.S. after being deported at least 11 times.

Sergio Jose Martinez, also known as Sergio Martinez-Mendoza, brutally attacked two women in Portland in July 2017, just a week after being freed from the Multnomah County Jail. He 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, Martinez confronted a woman in a parking garage with a knife and threatened to kill her. Martinez was attempting to kidnap the woman as she left work, according to police.

Martinez was sentenced in December to 35 years in state prison after pleading guilty to sodomy, kidnapping, sex abuse and other charges, reports the Associated Press.

The case sparked tensions between federal immigration officials and local law enforcement over Oregon’s longstanding sanctuary state law. Enacted in 1987, the 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.” (RELATED: Forget California, Oregon Is The Foremost Sanctuary State In The Nation)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions highlighted Martinez’s case when he visited Oregon in September and called on local sheriffs to more closely cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. In announcing Martinez’s federal sentence, Billy J. Williams, the U.S. Attorney for Oregon, echoed Sessions’s remarks.

“We must stop dangerous criminals with no right to be in the U.S. from returning to our streets and reoffending after completing their state sentences,” Williams said in a statement.

At the time of Martinez’s arrest for the Portland attacks, ICE said it had previously lodged an immigration detention request for him with Multnomah County authorities. He was released without notification to immigration authorities, according to the agency.

“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,” agency spokesperson Virginia 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.”

County authorities could not legally hold Martinez on an immigration detainer unless it came with a criminal warrant signed by a federal judge, Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese said at the time. He cited Oregon’s sanctuary law, as well as a 2014 Oregon federal court decision that said holding a person on an ICE detainer violates the Fourth Amendment if the request isn’t backed by a federal arrest warrant.

“He was released consistent with the orders of the court,” Reese previously said, according to the AP. “No federal or state criminal warrants were present at the time he left our custody.”

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