ICE Releases Wanted Poster for 'Criminal' Immigrants Released From Jails 'Instead of Being Transferred' to Agency

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is clamping down on immigrants released from local jails, issuing a "wanted" poster for those that local law enforcement officers have refused to detain for ICE agents.

Sharing the mugshots of 20 immigrants with criminal records who have been released from local enforcement bodies across California and New York, as well as in Seattle, Charlotte and Chicago, ICE detailed how each individual had been let go by local authorities.

In one case, a man from Mexico was wanted after law enforcement authorities declined to detain him after he was arrested for rape in the third degree. In another, a man from El Salvador was being sought after authorities declined to detain him after he was arrested for driving while under the influence.

The "wanted" poster from ICE comes after the agency announced that it had arrested 54 people throughout New Jersey in a week-long action targeting "public safety threats" who were "released from local law enforcement custody into the community instead of being transferred to ICE.

The majority of those arrested, 21, were from Mexico, while others came from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Costa Rica, Guyana, Jamaica, Ecuador, Brazil, Georgia and Pakistan.

In a statement shared in a press release by ICE, Matthew Albence, the agency's acting director, railed against local law enforcement authorities across the country who choose to release people wanted by the immigration agency.

"As law enforcement professionals, it is frustrating to see senseless acts of violence and other criminal activity happen in our communities, knowing ICE could have prevented them with just a little cooperation," said Albence.

"To the public, who want to live and raise your families in safe neighborhoods, we ask you to hold your lawmakers accountable before you, or someone you love, is unnecessarily victimized by a criminal ICE could have removed from the country," he said.

The press release then went on to list a number of examples of individuals released into communities that ICE could have seen deported.

"In September 2019, ICE officers arrested Jose Alejandro Lopez-Gutierrez, 56, in Colorado. Lopez-Gutierrez, a Mexican national, was arrested and booked into the Boulder County (CO) Jail after an arrest for felony sex assault on a child," the agency said. "ICE lodged a detainer on Lopez-Gutierrez in May 2019, but the Boulder County Jail released him from custody three days later without notifying ICE. He has previously been removed on one prior occasion."

In another incident, ICE described how in January 2019, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office had arrested Angel Diaz-Vera, a 40-year-old Mexican national for driving while intoxicated.

"ICE lodged a detainer, but he was released from local custody. In June 2019, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office again arrested Diaz-Vera for two counts of assault on a female, assault by strangulation, assault with a deadly weapon, and DWI," the agency said. "He again was released from Mecklenburg County despite ICE issuing another detainer and remains at large."

"It is past time to put aside all the political rhetoric and listen to the facts – and the fact is, people are being hurt and victimized every day because of jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with ICE," Albence said.

"It is my sincere desire to work with local partners to whatever extent they are willing to work with this agency in what should be our shared goal to ensure public safety," he said, before issuing a warning to those who refuse to cooperate.

"Uncooperative jurisdictions should be on notice that as long as criminal offenders are being released, they should get used to seeing a lot more ICE at-large enforcement activity in their communities," Albence said.

Under federal law, ICE does have the authority to issue immigration detainers with law enforcement bodies who have custody of people arrested on criminal charges ICE believes could be deported from the country.

Local law enforcement authorities are not obligated to comply with the detainers, however.

ICE officer
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent prepares to arrest alleged immigration violators in Salem, Ohio. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty