New York City law enforcement released a criminal alien from the Dominican Republic who –get this – had a criminal history in the U.S. consisting of several felonies including assault and drug charges, and who had previously been removed from the United States three times, according to federal officials.
Immigration officials picked up 44-year-old Hector Suarez after he was deliberately released on bail by a New York County Criminal Court on Dec. 30 after the agency refused to recognize an immigration detainer. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had attempted to take custody of Suarez before his release based on his illegal status, his past deportation history and his record as a dangerous criminal alien.
According to immigration officials, Suarez was released on day after ICE filed a detainer requesting local law enforcement to hold him for immigration proceedings.
But instead, Suarez – who’d already been deported once in 2002, again in 2004, and a third time in 2009 – was set free thanks to New York City’s sanctuary city policy.
But it’s not just Suarez’s history of removal and illegal reentry that makes NYC’s decision to release him so astonishing.
According to ICE, Suarez has a criminal history dating back to 1997, when he was convicted of attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance. Five years later in 2002, just prior to his first deportation, Suarez was convicted for criminal possession of drugs. After he illegally returned to the United States (twice), he was again arrested in 2006 – this time for second-degree attempted assault.
In 2008, he was arrested in Texas for violating his supervised release.
"This is the case of another criminal alien, a felon, who was released back into the streets. Politics and rhetoric are not what keep the people of this great city safe,” said Thomas R. Decker, who runs ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Office in New York, following Suarez’s arrest.
“ICE is committed to maintaining and strengthening its relationship with local law enforcement. We also welcome changes to the city’s present detainer policies in the interest of public safety and national security,” he added.
Astonishingly, however, Politico, who claimed city officials said they'd never received a request from ICE, reported Suarez's criminal history this way in a report published on Monday:
Suarez’s criminal history is mainly related to low-level drug convictions and illegal re-entry into the country, and he appears to fit the profile of the kind of resident New York City officials said they are trying to shield from deportation by limiting their cooperation with immigration officials.
Just low-level drug crimes and consistent re-entering the country after being sent home. No big deal.
As to whether or not the city actually got a detainer request from ICE to hold Suarez is apparently in dispute; however, the city did just release a criminal alien felon with a gang record from Rikers after being issued a detainer nine months in advance, putting more than just a few cracks in their credibility.