Last year, Chicago police posted a video suggesting that immigration status is in line with gender and race as identities that don’t matter to their officers. Sadly, it matters a lot to a three-year-old who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a career criminal illegal alien who could have been removed from the country just months before the incident if not for Chicago’s recalcitrant policies.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Christopher Puente, 34, confessed to luring a three-year-old girl into the bathroom at the River North McDonald’s, pulling off the girl’s pants and underwear, and sitting her on his lap.
“He said that the victim called out ‘Daddy, Daddy,’” said Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy about the horrific incident. “And so he covered the girl’s mouth.”
Like most criminals of this magnitude, this was not his first rodeo. According to the Sun-Times, “Puente has a lengthy criminal record, having served several stints in prison for theft and burglary. He currently faces a misdemeanor battery charges for allegedly touching a woman inappropriately and then shoving her while downtown.”
But the article omits the most important detail. Puente, according to ICE, is an illegal alien from Mexico who was previously deported and could have been removed again last year had Chicago police honored the detainer.
Thus, unlike the gender or race of a suspect, immigration status matters a lot. If Chicago cooperated with ICE, this alleged sexual assault and possibly the prior assault on a woman could have been prevented.
This man, like thousands of other illegal aliens, is committing countless preventable crimes because not only are they barely locked up on domestic criminal charges, thanks to “criminal justice reform,” they are not turned over to ICE for removal.
“In June 2019, ICE lodged an immigration detainer with the Chicago Police Department on Puente, who has several felony convictions and a prior removal, after he was arrested for theft,” said ICE in a press release this morning. “That detainer was not honored and on Feb. 19, 2020, Puente was once again arrested, except this time it was for sexually assaulting a 3-year-old at a fast food restaurant.”
“How many more victims must there be before lawmakers realize that sanctuary policies do not protect the innocent?” asked Robert Guadian, field office director of Chicago Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). “Puente should have been in ICE custody last year and removed to his home country. Instead, irresponsible lawmaking allowed him to walk free and prey on our most vulnerable.”
On Feb. 20, 2020, ICE filed an immigration detainer with Cook County Jail after Puente’s sexual assault arrest. Thankfully, the suspect is being held without bond because if he did post bail, the county would still not honor the detainer, even after such a horrific criminal charge.
According to ICE, Puente was previously deported in 2014 and also had felony convictions in 2011, 2012, and 2017.
Puente is not an anomaly. In fiscal year 2019, Cook County declined more than 1,070 detainers. There is no way of knowing how many others like him are reoffending and harming Americans because, as ICE noted in the release, “Since ICE does not have access to standard Illinois law enforcement databases, the agency cannot account for all the aliens who have been arrested, released and arrested for additional crimes.”
Statute (8 U.S. Code § 1373) makes it unlawful for a state or city to “prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.”
Just this week, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security published a report showing that 17,000 criminal aliens arrested for crimes and released in contravention to ICE detainers remain at large in this country. In total, there were 58,900 declined detainers between October 1, 2013, and September 30, 2019, 70 percent of which were eventually captured by ICE at a great cost in manpower.
However, the scope of the problem is getting worse. In FY 2016, there were 3,686 declined detainers. In FY 2019, there were over 16,000. As the report notes, “Arresting violent offenders at large [not in jail custody] requires even more resources to ensure officer safety.” This prevents them from removing more illegal aliens, including violent criminals.
Yet after thousands upon thousands of the worst criminal aliens have been released throughout the country, there is still no effort by Congress to better enforce the laws.