U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained a Guatemalan national for sexual assault against children after he was released by Philadelphia. This was the 2nd time Philadelphia released this sexual predator onto the streets, regardless of an ICE detainer lodged against him in both cases.
Hector Moran-Espinoza was arrested April 2, by the Philadelphia Police Department for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion, unlawful contact with a minor-sexual offenses, statuary sexual assault, endangering the welfare of children-parent or guardian commits offense, corruption of minors, indecent assault-without the consent of other person, reckless endangerment of another person, rape by forceable compulsion, sexual abuse of children-photographing, videotaping, depicting on a computer or filming sexual acts, and aggravated indecent assault without consent.
May 9, Moran was once again jailed by the Philadelphia Police Department for unlawful contact with a minor-sexual offenses, corruption of minors, indecent assault of a person under 13 years of age, reckless endangerment of another person, and endangering the welfare of a child-parent or guardian commits offense.
In both cases, ICE’s Philadelphia Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) lodged an immigration detainer on Moran the same day of the arrest, and each time Philadelphia did not honor this detainer and sent this predator back to the streets.
“We are seeing politicians put their political agendas above the safety of the citizens they serve,” said ICE Philadelphia Field Office Director Simona Flores-Lund. “The victims in this case are young children, whose lives are now forever changed. This monster was released not once, but twice, without notifying ICE. We are committed to strengthening our relationship with local law enforcement, as we want nothing more than to keep our communities safe.” By releasing a criminal with multiple offenses, Philadelphia is putting their city at risk by letting this individual roam free to potentially harm the most vulnerable, our children.
Under federal law, ICE has the authority to lodge immigration detainers with law enforcement partners who have custody of people jailed on criminal charges and who ICE has cause to believe are unlawful aliens. The detainer asks the other law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of release and to maintain custody of the alien for a brief time period so that ICE can take custody of that individual in a safe and protected setting upon release from that jurisdiction’s custody. Yet, across the United States, several jurisdictions decline to honor detainers and rather select to voluntarily free criminal transgressors back into their local neighborhoods where they are able to offend again.
When city governments fail to honor ICE detainers and release a criminal alien onto the streets, it negatively impacts public safety.
Sanctuary policies leave ICE with no choice but to increase enforcement in communities and workplaces to locate and apprehend these persons while they are on the street increasing the probability that other individuals formerly not targeted for arrest will be taken into ICE custody.
It is safer for everybody if ICE takes custody of an alien in the regulated environment of another agency rather than visiting an alien’s home, place of work, or other public location. Arresting a criminal in the safety, security, and personal privacy of a jail is always the best option.
When local governments do not honor ICE detainers, these individuals, who typically have significant criminal histories, are released onto the street, posing a public security threat.