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‘It’s Absolutely Disgusting’: DHS Chief Reacts To New York Sanctuary Laws That Led To Killing Of 92-Year-Old Woman

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), ripped New York laws that provide sanctuary to illegal aliens and prevent cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Wolf reacted to the killing of Maria Fuentes, a 92-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted and beaten up in New York City earlier in January, during a Friday appearance on “Fox & Friends.” Her alleged killer is an illegal alien from Guyana who had been arrested previously by local authorities, but was let go because of the city’s uncooperative policy toward Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“It’s absolutely disgusting. The politicians and jurisdictions there are certainly playing politics with public safety,” Wolf said in his reaction.

“What I would say is it’s a completely preventable tragedy. Had they honored the ICE detainer, this would never have happened. So if they would have cooperated with ICE officials, the individual never would have been let out, wouldn’t have committed this crime and we wouldn’t even be talking about this. So if they would just cooperate in the first place — wouldn’t even be an issue,” the acting DHS secretary continued.

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Democratic presidential candidate New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers campaign speech at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair on August 11, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The alleged killer, Reeaz Khan, had been arrested by the New York Police Department in November 2019 for allegedly assaulting his father. At that time, ICE said it lodged a detainer for Khan, who is living in the country illegally. However, New York policy largely prohibits cooperation with federal immigration authorities, particularly when it comes to ICE detainer requests.

Khan was ultimately released back into the public. Roughly two months later, he was identified as the suspect for the killing of a 92-year-old woman who was out late at night in January looking for returnable cans.

Wolf said the sanctuary policies that led to this incident make communities less safe.

“What this does, the only sanctuary it provides is to criminals. It makes those communities less safe. It also makes ICE and law enforcement officials less safe. Instead of picking up an individual in a confined jail setting, they have to go into communities, knock on doors and the like. Again, putting those communities at danger and the like,” the DHS chief said. (RELATED: ‘Using Every Tool Available’: ICE Subpoenas Sanctuary City For Information On Wanted Illegal Aliens)

“If they just would have honored that ICE detainer to begin with, we wouldn’t even be talking about this,” he continued.

In his own public statement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he mourns with Fuentes’s family. The mayor also said NYC will cooperate with federal officials if Khan is convicted — but stipulated that this cooperation would only be in “accordance in with local law.”

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