Feds Sued over Illegal-Immigrant Documents

Ben Giles, Washington Examiner, March 3, 2011

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors sued the Department of Homeland Security for records on the agency’s handling of an illegal immigrant who was released by federal officials and later charged with drunken driving in a car crash that killed a nun.

County officials argue that Homeland Security is unlawfully withholding records the Board of Supervisors requested about Carlos Martinelly-Montano, who Prince William County police turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement almost two years ago, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.

ICE released Martinelly-Montano back into the community while he awaited his deportation hearing. He was charged in August 2010 with drunken driving in a fatal crash that killed one nun and left two others injured. He had two previous drunken-driving convictions.

At the time, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ordered an investigation into the case in to discover why Martinelly-Montano was never deported.

The Board of Supervisors filed a Freedom of Information Act request in November 2010 for copies of the investigation report and any other documents concerning the department’s contact with him. DHS has failed to hand over the documents or indicate that the records are exempt from the request, according to county officials, and the board grew frustrated after trying for months to cooperate with DHS.

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The board also has asked Congress to investigate Homeland Security’s handling of all its immigration records. [Chairman Corey] Stewart has met with officials from the U.S. House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees, and said he hopes they will agree to conduct the investigation.

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