DeSantis Says Stabbing Death by Man From Mexico Shows 'Inadequate Vetting' of Migrants

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that a stabbing death allegedly committed by a man who lied about his identity in order to cross the U.S.-Mexico border was caused by the "inadequate vetting" of migrants, the Associated Press reported. Reports indicate that the suspect, 24-year-old Yery Medina Ulloa, was apprehended at the border, but still allowed to enter the country after lying about his age in order to cross as an unaccompanied minor.

The incident spurred outcry against how the federal government handles immigration, though federal officials haven't confirmed or negated the reports. DeSantis' office said that case highlights both an insufficient review of those looking to cross into the U.S. and the lack of information available on how the Biden administration transports illegal immigrants, the AP reported.

Christina Pushaw, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in an email the border agents should have been able to work out that Medina Ulloa "was not a minor, was dishonest about his real identity, and should not be free to move around our country." Medina Ulloa pleaded not guilty Thursday to a second-degree murder charge.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

DeSantis Decries Immigration Handling
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that a stabbing death allegedly committed by a man who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border was caused by the “inadequate vetting” of migrants. Above, DeSantis delivers remarks during a press conference at a coronavirus mobile testing site in The Villages, Florida, on March 23, 2020. John Raoux/AP Photo

A recent review of the AP and AIM Media Texas also showed how Biden was unprepared for the huge increase in people seeking refuge at the border at different points throughout the year.

It is still unclear how Medina Ulloa, of Honduras, was processed upon arriving in the U.S.

The State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville said he had been apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol earlier this year but could not confirm whether he used a different identity when this happened. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees Border Patrol, did not respond to questions on the case.

On October 7, Medina Ulloa was found covered in blood by witnesses near a pond in Jacksonville. A witness says he received a call from Medina Ulloa where he said he had killed Francisco Cuellar because he hit him. Cuellar was found dead on the floor of his living room. Witnesses say he had been staying in Cuellar's house, and called him uncle, but they were not related.

He was first arrested and placed in a juvenile detention center after giving sheriff deputies a different name and saying he was 17. Six days later, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement obtained his real identity from the Honduran consulate, court documents show.

A woman who identified as his mother in Jutiquile, Honduras told the Spanish-language broadcast Univision that he had used a different name when encountering border authorities so that he would be placed in a shelter.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department said it does not comment on individual cases and did not confirm whether the man had been placed under its custody as it happens when minors are found by the Border Patrol.

About 13 percent of children who were released from government custody in August, the last month for which statistics are available, went with people who were either distant relatives or not related. The government generally requires documents proving the relationship with the child or the child's family existed before the child migrated to the U.S.

The public defender for Medina Ulloa did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.

U.S.-Mexico Border
A reported stabbing death by a man who crossed into the U.S. illegally has spurred outcry against how the federal government handles immigration. Above, an older section of the border wall divides Ciudad Juarez, Mexico from Sunland Park, New Mexico on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez on January 12, 2021. Christian Chavez/AP Photo