New York's 'Sanctuary' Policy Frees Accused Child Rapist Despite ICE Detainer
Brooklyn, NY – An illegal immigrant accused of raping a 13-year-old girl was allowed to walk out of a New York “sanctuary city” jail despite being the subject of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer.
Miguel Federico Ajqui-Ajtzalam, a 20-year-old Guatemalan national, was arrested on charges of sexual abuse, rape, and acting in a manner to injure a child on Feb. 27, according to an ICE press release.
ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers assigned to the New York Criminal Alien Program subsequently lodged a detainer with the New York City Department of Corrections due to the fact that he was in the country illegally.
“As a result of New York City’s sanctuary policies, Ajqui-Ajtzalam was subsequently arraigned and released from the custody of the NYCDOC without the detainer being honored,” ICE said in the release.
The accused child rapist was apprehended by ERO officers in Brooklyn on March 2, and he is now being detained pending removal proceedings.
“It’s inconceivable that an individual who was arrested for local charges of rape and sexual abuse of a child, would be released back into the community instead of being transferred to ICE who had a detainer in place,” ERO New York Field Office Director Thomas Decker said in the release.
“It’s frightening that our detainer was ignored and he was released onto New York City streets to possibly re-offend,” Director Decker added. “The safety of city residents, especially the more vulnerable, continues to be a priority for ICE enforcement.”
According to ICE, Ajqui-Ajtzalam illegally entered the U.S. as an “unaccompanied alien child” on Sept. 23, 2016.
He was issued a notice to appear and released from ICE custody less than two weeks later, pending removal proceedings.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) said it will only honor immigration detainers when “ICE presents a warrant issued by a federal judge establishing that there is probable cause to take the person into custody, and the person has been convicted of a ‘violent or serious crime’ within five years of the arrest or is a possible match on the terrorist watch list,” the New York Post reported.
Approximately 267,000 aliens were removed from the U.S. by ICE in 2019. Of the 143,000 aliens arrested by ERO, over 86 percent had either been convicted of criminal charges or were facing new charges, according to the ICE press release.