Illegal Migrant Arrested For Kidnapping, Sexually Assaulting Child Was Given Years-Long Court Date

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Jason Hopkins Immigration Reporter
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A migrant arrested for sexual crimes had been given a date to appear before an immigration judge several years after illegally crossing the border, demonstrating how the court backlog is potentially helping criminal aliens remain in the country.

A 20-year-old Guatemalan national was arrested for kidnapping a minor and sexual assault, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office announced on Monday. Marvin Perez Lopez is accused of snatching an 11-year-old girl and raping her until the girl’s mother intervened.

Perez Lopez allegedly grabbed the 11-year-old by the hand, took her into his van and forced himself on her, despite her repeated pleas to stop, according to local reporting. The child’s mother began to look for her when she then noticed the van close to the apartment building both shared by the victim and Perez Lopez. (RELATED: Immigration Judges Have Thrown Out 200,000 Deportation Cases Because Biden Admin Didn’t File Paperwork)

The mother began to bang on the van and shout, prompting the Guatemalan man to flee the scene. She later called the police and he was taken into local custody, where he is being held without bond.

Local authorities confirmed Perez Lopez entered the U.S. illegally earlier this year.

“Through the investigation, detectives learned that Perez Lopez left Guatemala in early January, crossed through Mexico, turned himself in to Border Patrol, was given a court date for some time in 2027 and was released,” the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said in their announcement. “He found his way to Florida [in] the end of January 2024.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation that Perez Lopez is an illegal immigrant who was encountered and arrested by Border Patrol on January 19. The agency said they have lodged a detainer request for him with local authorities.

That Perez Lopez entered in January, but was assigned a court date three years into the future signifies how the current border crisis is creating a significant backlog in the immigration court system.

Data compiled by Syracuse’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) found that the U.S. immigration court backlog surpassed 3 million pending cases in November — a new record for the court system. The case backlog in 2022 was 2 million, meaning that the backlog increased by a million cases in just 12 months. TRAC concluded that immigration judges now average about 4,500 pending cases every year.

“If every person with a pending immigration case were gathered together, it would be larger than the population of Chicago, the third largest city in the United States,” the study stated. “Indeed, the number of waiting immigrants in the Court’s backlog is now larger than the population found in many states.”

The court backlog is not surprising given the record-setting encounters taking place at the U.S.-Mexico border, where Perez Lopez had crossed several months earlier.

Since the beginning of the Biden administration, at least 6 million encounters have taken place at the southern border, putting a strain on the U.S. immigration court system and federal immigration authorities.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include comment from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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