National Security

Man Who Was Arrested At US Capitol For Carrying Machete Was An Illegal Immigrant Released By Biden Admin Authorities

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Jennie Taer Investigative Reporter
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A man who authorities arrested at the U.S. Capitol for carrying a machete and a knife was an illegal immigrant from Venezuela that federal border authorities previously released from custody, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said Tuesday.

Capitol Police first nabbed Jose Leonardo Marquez, 23, after noticing a machete under his clothes, and ICE took his into custody on Dec. 27, according to the agency. Border Patrol apprehended Marquez on August 21, 2022 and released him from custody “due to a lack of detention capacity,” enrolling him in the tracking program known as “Alternatives to Detention.” (RELATED: Police Arrest Armed Man Near US Capitol, Respond To Suspicious Package Close To Senate)

“Jose Leonardo Marquez-Marquez posed a significant threat to people in and around the U.S. Capitol,” Patrick Divver, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Washington, D.C. acting field office director, said in a statement regarding the arrest. “Thanks to our law enforcement partners at the U.S. Capitol Police, this threat was mitigated quickly. Fortunately, Marquez is currently in ERO custody and will face removal proceedings.”

Marquez checked in with ICE on Oct. 5, where he received a court date, according to the agency.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO – DECEMBER 18: Immigrants seeking asylum turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents after wading across the Rio Grande to El Paso, Texas on December 18, 2022 from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Capitol Police charged Marquez with carrying a dangerous weapon and possessing a prohibited weapon, ICE said.

Illegal immigration at the southern border has hit record highs in recent years, with the number of Border Patrol encounters of illegal migrants surpassing 2 million in fiscal year 2023 and 2.2. million in fiscal year 2022, according to federal data.

ICE made roughly 3,000 criminal arrests in fiscal year 2023 after more than 2,200 in fiscal year 2022 and about 2,300 in fiscal year 2021, according to the agency.

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