Denver authorities won’t allow deportation of illegal immigrant arrested for vehicular homicide

Denver authorities won’t allow deportation of illegal immigrant arrested for vehicular homicide
A semi-truck burns after a fatal accident on I-70 in Denver over the weekend. The Denver Sheriff's Office is refusing to honor an ICE detainer calling for the deportation of an illegal immigrant under arrest for a deadly hit-and-run. (Image source: Fox 31 video screenshot)

An illegal immigrant who was arrested on vehicular homicide charges is being protected from deportation because the Denver Sheriff’s Department refuses to honor a detainer from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to KDVR-TV.

What happened?

According to the Denver Police Department, 26-year-old Ivan Zamarripa-Castaneda slammed into a semi truck last weekend, killing the driver, and then fled the scene.

Authorities tracked him down at his home the next day and arrested him on vehicular homicide charges. Monday, ICE found that he was in the U.S. illegally and attempted to gain custody of him for deportation.

The sheriff’s department, fearing a potential Fourth Amendment violation, is refusing to honor the ICE detainer and will honor the agency’s request only if they get a federal warrant, which ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok said is not feasible.

“One of the issues is we detain somewhere around 34,000 to 40,000 people per day,” Rusnok said. “We place detainers on thousands and thousands of people. Getting federal warrants for each one of those individuals would be extremely time consuming, and it’s something we don’t have the resources for.”

What happens now?

Zamarippa-Castaneda is being held on $25,000 bail. If he posts, he would be free until his next court date.

Rusnok said it would be in the public’s best interest for the sheriff’s department to honor the detainer.

“By ICE taking custody of these individuals, we actually help improve public safety by taking these criminal aliens off the streets and ultimately removing them to their country of origin,” Rusnok said.

Zamarippa-Castaneda has not been formally charged yet, but if he is charged and convicted, the Denver district attorney’s office said it intends to have him serve his time in Colorado before he could potentially be deported.

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