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.
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