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Illegal Aliens Released from Custody without Notifying ICE, Hernando at Risk of Losing Federal Funding, Say Experts

HERNANDO – The 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant, who was previously convicted of multiple felonies, drew strong criticism from supporters of President Donald Trump’s plan to strengthen and enforce immigration laws.

Adding insult to the already heartbroken Steinle family, a San Francisco Jury acquitted Kate’s killer, Garcia Zarate, of murder, which sparked outrage across the nation, especially from President Trump. In a Tweet following the sanctuary city’s decision, Trump said, “A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration.” And on December 1st President Trump tweeted, “The jury was not told the killer of Kate was a 7-time felon. The Schumer/Pelosi Democrats are so weak on Crime that they will pay a big price in the 2018 and 2020 Elections.”

Sanctuary cities have come under fire for allowing illegal immigrants to live without fear of deportation, even with those who have extensive criminal histories. When local authorities fail to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers (ICE) of undocumented inmates held at their facilities, it stifles their ability to issue Detainers, which could begin the process of deporting aliens who commit crimes.

Hernando County made the list of sanctuary counties, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, and on November 17th of this year the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office was listed as being one of only two Florida jurisdictions at risk of losing federal funding.

Sheriff Al Nienuis explained in a January 2017 RNRF article, “As the Sheriff, I would like to take this time to put to rest any notion that Hernando County is a Sanctuary County… Hernando County is NOT one of those places.” Nienhuis further explains, “Unfortunately, the Federal Government is occasionally wrong and asks us to violate the rights of legal U.S. Citizens by holding someone without the necessary paperwork. This often results in local taxpayers having to pay large monetary awards. I refuse to knowingly hold a person without the appropriate documentation.”

Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Denise Moloney told RNRF in statement earlier this year that the Center for Immigration Studies is, “…entirely devoid of any authority to support their position and ultimately not a credible source.” Moloney further explained that to detain a suspected illegal alien would require, “…probable cause supported by an affidavit or a warrant from a judge to hold a suspected alien.” But if a warrant is required to hold a suspected illegal alien, and local law enforcement fails to notify ICE of a an undocumented detainee, then how will ICE know to issue a Detainer or request a warrant? Many believe Hernando County is a prime example of how illegal aliens with lengthy criminal records remain in the United States and continue to commit crimes.

In April of 2016, Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 20-year-old Leonel Galicia-Merida, after he provided fake immigration documents during a traffic stop. Merida not only provided deputies with a fake green card but he also possessed a stolen social security card. Merida was subsequently charged with possessing fake documents and booked into the Hernando County Jail. Merida remained behind bars for nearly two months before a judge sentenced him to time served, and ordered him to pay court costs and incarceration fees. Despite the Sheriff’s Office having the knowledge that Merida is not a U.S. citizen, ICE was never notified of Merida’s incarceration or his subsequent conviction.

A Canadian woman was arrested last Monday, after she attempted to steal several items from the Walmart Supercenter on Cortez Blvd. (FOLLOW THIS LINK FOR FULL STORY). After conducting a background check on the suspect, 31-year-old Marley Wylie, RNRF discovered that Wylie has multiple felony convictions out of Lake County, including a conviction for aggravated child abuse. Wylie remains behind bars at the Hernando County Jail on a $6,000 bond – for now – charged with felony petit theft and possession of marijuana.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, Canada and the United States have enjoyed a long history of social, cultural, and economic ties that have contributed to a high volume of cross-border trade and travel. According to a 2010 Joint Border Threat and Risk Assessment, the United States and Canada process over 70 million international travelers and 35 million vehicles each year. But U.S. National Security Advisers fear that with an open border comes an increased threat that terrorists will use the soft travel policy as way to enter the United States undetected.

We contacted the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office for comment but we have yet to receive a reply.

The Sheriff’s Office receives over $30,000 per year in a form of a federal grant to house ICE inmates at the detention center, according the 2015/2016 HCSO proposed budget.

The only other jurisdiction at risk of losing federal funding, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, is the city of Gainesville.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2017 RNRF Incorporated.

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  • So in the statement the sheriffs office says “sometimes the federal government gets it wrong”. And we’re suppose to think the sheriffs interpretation of the law is superior to the federal law makers,and just take his word for it.

    Saturday, 9 December 2017, 4:44 am
  • Just the fact that with all the controversy, he refuses to remove himself from the Dawn Center,is a clear indication to me that he is getting a lot more from them than it seems. If he is willing to risk his career on a so called rescue house. there has got to be a reason.
    keep up the good work TOM. keep the pressure on..

    Friday, 8 December 2017, 8:35 am
  • 62.9 % Of Hernando county voted for Trump and we demand either you Nienhuis start doing what he wants or we the 62.9 will vote you out plain and simple.

    Friday, 8 December 2017, 12:22 am
    • Whoohoo!! You said boy!!

      Friday, 8 December 2017, 1:03 pm
    • Let the people come in all they looking for is jobs you won’t do…….

      Saturday, 9 December 2017, 8:42 pm
  • Time to move where they take illegals immigration seriously

    Friday, 8 December 2017, 12:01 am
  • I am so disappointed after moving from Tampa to Brooksville 5 years ago. This county is so corrupt the sheriff’s on tv more than any other sheriff in Florida. Man I hate this place constantly harrasing people over MARIJUANA but okay with opioid addiction use etc This sheriff is a joke my son went to school with the sheriff’s daughter YOU SHOULDN’T CAST STONES IF YOU LIVE IN A GLASS HOUSE sheriff Al…..pills liquor sex with other couples the time can’t come fast enough to put this place in my rearview!

    Thursday, 7 December 2017, 11:27 pm

      Friday, 8 December 2017, 8:21 am
  • Well we can protest him out of office for now!
    If you don’t belong then you have no rights!
    Notify them and send them out

    Thursday, 7 December 2017, 10:33 pm
  • once a crime is commited then its up to the police to process the person then notify ICE if they are not a citizen?whats wrong with that .sounds simple.send them back

    Thursday, 7 December 2017, 7:50 pm
  • The more i hear of our sheriff the more i’m thinking we need a new one!

    Thursday, 7 December 2017, 7:16 pm

      Friday, 8 December 2017, 8:22 am
  • What a Disgrace, We don’t want a Sheriff that will harbor illegal criminals in our county and not turn them over to ICE Period.

    Thursday, 7 December 2017, 4:35 pm
    • BAM!! You nailed it!!

      Friday, 8 December 2017, 1:07 pm
  • Sounds like the sheriff is sitting on the fence and talking out of both sides of his mouth at once. Let’s vote this man out of office next time!

    Thursday, 7 December 2017, 3:34 pm
    • He’s a pro!

      Friday, 8 December 2017, 1:08 pm
  • Sheriff Reaffirms Hernando County is not a Sanctuary

    Recently, it was stated, wrongly, that Hernando County is a Sanctuary Jurisdiction. This is nothing more than fake news.

    While it has been repeated multiple times before, we repeat today that Hernando County is not a Sanctuary Jurisdiction.

    Today we spoke with the Executive Director for the Center for Immigration Studies. This is the organization that publishes the now famous “Sanctuary Map.” The Executive Director confirmed three things:

    First, their definition of a Sanctuary and the Federal Government’s definition are different; Second, the Executive Director personally, had Hernando County removed from their list some time ago; and Third, if Hernando County is currently on any of the Center for Immigration Studies Maps, its’ placement was done so in error, and will be removed immediately.

    Another false claim involved an individual named Leonel Galicia Merida, who was arrested in 2016. This individual was believed to be an illegal immigrant by Hernando County Sheriff’s Office personnel. The notion that HCSO personnel did not even notify ICE officials of this arrest is completely false.

    We have an email from the Immigration Agent handling this matter that was sent to one of our detention deputies. Not only did HCSO staff notify ICE, but ICE refused to take the detainee.

    An additional false rumor is regarding a recent arrest of a Canadian Citizen for retail theft. This individual’s status in this country was checked and verified. To that end, HCSO staff called ICE and were informed that this arrestee is legally present in the United States at this time. Again, this person, was not requested to be detained by ICE.

    It is also important to note that over the past year, in additon to the above information, HCSO has been working with the federal government to create a partnership through the federal 287-G program.

    Just recently, HCSO was approved to institute this program. This allows HCSO employees, who receive appropriate training, to act as ICE agents. The program effectively extinguishes legal problems created in the past by unconstitutional detainer requests and certainly illustrates our commitment to support U.S. immigration law.

    Thursday, 7 December 2017, 3:34 pm
    • Provide your proof of your claims.

      Thursday, 7 December 2017, 6:02 pm
      • I want something besides HCSO’s word on this. Where is the evidence that Hernando County IS NOT a sanctuary jurisdiction? Nobody has proven anything to those of us who have a brain. Our top cops word cannot be trusted. This is the same man who lied to the commissioners about money. It is time to replace this useless man and his useless PIO who is known to not know the laws that HCSO enforces. I can’t wait until election time. I hope we get someone good to run against this man and I’ll be out in force to see to it that Al Nuthouse is not elected again. He’s no good and is very biased and prejudiced as a cop. Now we know why Pasco was glad to get rid of this slob. Shame of HCSO for being so unprofessional on their own Facebook page, slandering and ruining a man running a fine small business in the area.

        Thursday, 7 December 2017, 7:38 pm
    • IF this is all true, then why didn’t you talk to the reporter, comment or answer questions when asked? This is why he tried to ask questions! Transparency is important, we shouldn’t have to drag it out of you and make you prove it. Just answer the questions when they arise. It seems simple enough.
      I think the community at large is intelligent enough to understand that we don’t want anyone unlawfully detained, as much as we want illegal criminals to be transported back to their home country. We get it. We aren’t asking you to do something illegal. We are simply asking for you to quit ducking and dodging, working on hunches and opinions and enforce the law.

      Friday, 8 December 2017, 3:06 pm
  • If no one runs against the sheriff we all as a community need to demand his impeachment and a federal investigation into his activity wile sheriff. When Trump said drain the swamp he was speaking to us he cant do it alone and our swamp rat sheriff needs to go if he cant enforce the law.

    Thursday, 7 December 2017, 2:50 pm
    • Hey Rob…don’t hold back buddy!! LMAO…

      Friday, 8 December 2017, 1:13 pm
  • Miss Maloney, if being in this country illegally is not probable cause then I don’t know what it is. You and your boss should both step down. Your actions are un American.

    Thursday, 7 December 2017, 2:31 pm
  • How many were reported to ICE this year? Or have only two illegals been arrested?

    Thursday, 7 December 2017, 10:41 am
    • I guess everybody forgets about Al letting those two pilots who flew in with 200lbs of marijuana (197 net,some disappeared) Al must be the King of Sanctuary in Florida…….
      BTW, Where’s the plane and whatever happened to “they’ll be in custody real soon”? Joke of the year,

      Thursday, 7 December 2017, 2:46 pm
      • They will turn themselves in as soon as they know a warrant has been obtained. Gee I wonder what happened to them?

        Thursday, 7 December 2017, 4:04 pm
        • How do you know that maybe they are working for the feds now to get where the came from? You people are idiots.

          Thursday, 7 December 2017, 6:20 pm
          • Really? Why not just come out and say the Feds are involved or something like that?Why the bullish-t about not being able to get a judge out of bed.Al let them go Scott free and has not even discussed it.He is unqualified for his position and a disgrace to the citizens of Hernando County ..

            Friday, 8 December 2017, 7:57 am
  • Need a new sheriff…note to myself for next election…..

    Thursday, 7 December 2017, 10:21 am
  • So we live in a sanctuary city ? Wow

    Thursday, 7 December 2017, 10:18 am
  • Better tighten up Al , lord knows you need that funding or is the dawn center taking care of that ? Seems like a conflict of interest but who am I ?

    Thursday, 7 December 2017, 10:17 am
    • I think you hit the nail on the head!!!

      Thursday, 7 December 2017, 11:40 am
    • BINGO!

      Thursday, 7 December 2017, 12:08 pm

      Friday, 8 December 2017, 8:29 am

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