An undocumented immigrant serving time for the killing of a child was released from a California prison earlier this month despite an ignored request from federal immigration agents that he be handed over so they could take him into custody to begin deportation proceedings, officials said Monday.
Carlos Morales-Ramirez, 44, left the Valley State Prison in Chowchilla on Dec. 4, an ICE news release said. In 1998, Morales-Ramirez, a citizen of El Salvador, was convicted in Los Angeles County of second-degree murder, assault on a child causing death, and great bodily injury to a child causing death.
The California Department of Corrections told Fox News it could not find a record of Morales-Ramirez.
California’s sanctuary state policies allow local law enforcement agencies to ignore detainer requests from ICE. The agency lodges the requests in an effort to take custody of jail and prison inmates upon their impending release in an effort to begin removal proceedings for people living in the United States illegally.
“State sanctuary laws grant law enforcement officials the discretion to cooperate with immigration authorities in instances where serious or violent crimes have been committed; again, we are talking about the murder of a child – rather than working with our officers to ensure this convicted aggravated felon was safely handed over to ICE, he was released back into the community and our officers were forced to exhaust more time and resources relocating and re-arresting him,” said ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Los Angeles Field Office Director Dave Marin.
Defenders of sanctuary policies argue it encourages undocumented immigrants to come forward as witnesses to crimes and to report crimes that may go unreported over fears of being deported.
Opponents say such policies release dangerous criminals onto the streets to re-offend. Some have been released and committed violent crimes, including murder.
A California woman was stabbed to death last year by an undocumented immigrant, Carlos Eduardo Arevalo Carranza. Before the murder, ICE lodged several detainer requests against him that were never honored.