An illegal immigrant previously arrested for rape was back at the home of the victim hours after being released in Oklahoma without notifying ICE.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested the 38-year-old illegal alien from El Salvador on Wednesday after the woman he is alleged to have raped contacted police when he arrived at her home, according to a statement by the agency which said the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office did not honor its request to notify them.
Antonio Ulises Perez was in custody hours after being released when the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office reportedly did not contact ICE as requested following his arrest last week for alleged first-degree rape. The sheriff’s department was asked by ICE officials on Tuesday to transfer custody of Perez when he was to be released, but they “failed to honor an ICE detainer and released him from custody.”
“Within a few hours of being released, this illegal alien was back at the home of the rape victim where he was free to re-victimize her and harm other members of the community,” Marc Moore, director of ICE’s Dallas field office, said.
The sheriff’s department “released Ulises Perez around 3 a.m. on Oct. 9, about an hour after notifying ICE, that he was scheduled to be released preventing deportation officers any reasonable opportunity to take custody,” the agency’s statement read.
“Unfortunately, this is not an isolated event,” it continued, noting that in the last few months, “Oklahoma County has routinely failed to honor ICE detainers by releasing criminal aliens back into the local community before ICE has the opportunity to take custody.”
But the sheriff’s office argued Thursday that it had complied with the law.
“We called ICE in Dallas and we told them this individual is going to be released. If you want him, to come pick him up. They had an hour and a half almost two hours, they refused to show up,” Mark Myers with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office told KFOR-TV.
ICE deportation officers arrested Perez in Oklahoma City later on Wednesday after he fled the scene following the alleged victim’s call. The police department “was unable to continue to detain” Perez after his initial arrest on Sept. 30 and released him.
“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission,” the agency said in its statement, explaining the system of issuing detainers.
“ICE lodges detainers on individuals who have been arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens. The detainer asks the other law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of release and to maintain custody of the alien for a brief period of time so that ICE can take custody of that person in a safe and secure setting upon release from that custody,” the statement read. “Federal immigration laws authorize DHS to issue detainers and provide ICE broad authority to detain removable aliens.”
“It is unconscionable that someone who is sworn to uphold the law would find it acceptable to release an alleged rapist who is illegally present in the U.S. back into the community when there are other options available under federal immigration law,” Moore said.
But the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement of its own, contending that Perez was never formally charged with rape and that another agency had arrested him initially.
“That’s not true. He was never charged with rape. He was brought in on a complaint,” Myers told WFOR. “Oklahoma City police department did their investigation and found that they didn’t have evidence to hold this guy on the charge they brought him in on.”
He also pushed back on ICE implying that Oklahoma County is one of the “sanctuary jurisdictions.”
“That’s ridiculous, and that shows the political drive behind this,” he said.
“Oklahoma County has never been considered a sanctuary city or a county,” he said, noting that they regularly cooperate with ICE.
ICE updated its press release hours later to include the new information.
“News release updated 10/10/19 to update the investigating agency as the Oklahoma City Police Department, to acknowledge that charges have not been formally brought at this time pending further investigation and to provide additional clarifying information regarding the ICE relationship with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office,” the release read.
Despite vigorously defending its actions, the police department was targeted with negative backlash on social media following its statement.
“You know he’s here illegally. That should be enough to hold him indefinitely until ICE gets there,” one Facebook user admonished.
“An hour and a half???? How about giving ICE practical notice??” another said. “OCSO you may want to shrug off your part in this but with this released statement. It is obvious you all need to sit down and figure out a better way to deal with such things.”
“Ok wait, are you saying this guy was arrested because he allegedly raped someone and because nobody from ICE picked him up, he was released???!!” asked another user. “What the hell kind of nonsense is that?!”
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