The acting chief at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement challenged New York officials on Friday to embrace the deaths caused by the city’s sanctuary policy.
Matt Albence bristled at New York officials’ claim that they never received a detainer request for an illegal immigrant arrested in November, released onto the streets in defiance of ICE, who now stands charged with a brutal murder of a 92-year-old woman.
“You know what? If you’re going to have a sanctuary city policy, and you know it’s going to result in people going back out onto the street to commit more crimes, at least own it,” Mr. Albence said. “At least stand up and say ‘Yeah, that’s our policy.’ Own it. Don’t sit there and try to push the blame onto somebody else.”
He said New York did, in fact, get a detainer request last year for Reeaz Khan, 21, after his first arrest on assault and weapons charges.
After being released then, Mr. Khan now stands accused of the grisly slaying of 92-year-old Maria Fuertes, whom authorities said was out on the street checking garbage piles for recyclables the night of the attack.
They have surveillance footage of Mr. Khan initiating the attack, and say he admitted it to investigators — though he says the assault was an accident. He said he saw the woman and tried to help her, but his pants accidentally fell down and his genitals came in contact with the woman’s.
New York is the latest jurisdiction to be angered by ICE blaming its sanctuary policy for a subsequent murder.
King County, home to Seattle, and Prince George’s County in Maryland have also faced similar accusations over the last year.
In each case local officials there also disputed that they got detainer requests — but also suggested it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, saying their policies required release of the criminal migrants.
Sanctuaries say they fear any cooperation with ICE, including turning criminals over for deportation, will scare other immigrants away from reporting crimes.
Under President Trump, the number of sanctuary jurisdictions has ballooned.
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