Immigration and Customs Enforcement, November 29, 2019
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested unlawfully present Guatemalan national for sexual abuse against children after he was released from police custody. This was the second time Philadelphia Police Department released this sexual predator onto the streets, despite an ICE detainer lodged against him in both cases.
Hector Moran-Espinoza was arrested April 2, by the Philadelphia Police Department for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion, unlawful contact with a minor-sexual offenses, statuary sexual assault, endangering the welfare of children-parent or guardian commits offense, corruption of minors, indecent assault-without the consent of other person, reckless endangerment of another person, rape by forceable compulsion, sexual abuse of children-photographing, videotaping, depicting on a computer or filming sexual acts, and aggravated indecent assault without consent.
May 9, Moran was again arrested by the Philadelphia Police Department for unlawful contact with a minor-sexual offenses, corruption of minors, indecent assault of a person under 13 years of age, reckless endangerment of another person, and endangering the welfare of a child-parent or guardian commits offense.
In both cases, ICE’s Philadelphia Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) lodged an immigration detainer on Moran the same day of the arrest, and each time Philadelphia Police Department did not honor this detainer and released this predator onto the streets.
“We are seeing politicians put their political agendas above the safety of the citizens they serve,” said ICE Philadelphia Field Office Director Simona Flores-Lund. “The victims in this case are young children, whose lives are now forever changed. This monster was released not once, but twice, without notifying ICE. We are committed to strengthening our relationship with local law enforcement, as we want nothing more than to keep our communities safe.”
By releasing a criminal with multiple offenses, the Philadelphia Police Department is putting their city at risk by letting this individual roam free to potentially harm the most vulnerable, our children.
Under federal law, ICE has the authority to lodge immigration detainers with law enforcement partners who have custody of individuals arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens. The detainer form 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 agency’s custody. Yet, across the United States, several jurisdictions refuse to honor detainers and instead choose to willingly release criminal offenders back into their local communities where they are free to offend.
When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release a criminal alien onto the streets, it negatively impacts public safety.
Sanctuary Policies Put Public Safety at Risk
Sanctuary policies leave ICE with no choice but to increase enforcement in neighborhoods and workplaces to locate and arrest these persons while they are at-large – increasing the likelihood that other individuals previously not targeted for arrest will be taken into ICE custody.
It is safer for everyone if ICE takes custody of an alien in the controlled environment of another law enforcement agency as opposed to visiting an alien’s residence, place of work, or other public area. Arresting a criminal in the safety, security, and privacy of a jail is always the best option.
When law enforcement agencies don’t honor ICE detainers, these individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released onto the street, presenting a potential public safety threat.