U.S.

Previously Deported Man Who Raped Child Shows Sanctuary City Is 'Direct Threat,' U.S. Attorney Says

United States Attorney William McSwain used a recent case of an undocumented immigrant who raped a 5-year-old girl as evidence that Philadelphia’s sanctuary city policy threatens its residents’ safety.

Juan Ramon-Vasquez, an undocumented immigrant, pleaded guilty to illegal re-entry after deportation and on Tuesday, Judge Nitza Quiñones Alejandro sentenced him to 21 months in prison. Following the completion of his sentence, he will be turned over to federal custody and deported.

“The facts of this case illustrate all too well the direct threat to public safety caused by the City of Philadelphia’s sanctuary city policies,” McSwain said.

In 2009, Ramon-Vasquez was deported and sent back to his home country of Honduras, according to the Department of Justice. However, he once again entered the United States and in 2014, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement discovered he was in the country. At the time of the realization, Ramon-Vasquez was in the custody of the Philadelphia Department of Prisons, but he was released despite ICE issuing a detainer.

After being released, Ramon-Vasquez was arrested in 2017 and charged with raping his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter, according to Philly.com. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight to 20 years in prison, which he is currently serving.

sanctuary city philadelphia william mcswain deportation undocumented immigrant Protesters take part in a Solidarity Rally Against Deportation at Foley Square near the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), office on March 9, 2017, in New York City. On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney William McSwain criticized Philadelphia's sanctuary city policy, citing a man who raped a 5-year-old girl after being deported. John Moore/Getty Images

McSwain, who was nominated by President Donald Trump, claimed that had the ICE detainer been honored by law enforcement, Ramon-Vasquez would not have been able to rape the child. Without the crime being committed, the attorney said the victim would not have suffered physical and mental trauma.

“Criminals like Ramon-Vasquez take note: my Office will do everything in its power to find you, to protect our community, and to seek justice for your victims,” McSwain said. “Unlike the Philadelphia government, we are not on your side.”

While McSwain blamed city officials, Mayor Jim Kenney, a supporter of the sanctuary city policy, claimed the federal government’s lack of properly doing their jobs was the reason the 50-year-old was released. His spokesman, Mike Dunn, told Philly.com that the city has always fully cooperated with federal arrest warrants and had ICE obtained an arrest warrant, they would have released Ramon-Vasquez into their custody.

Before his sentencing, the 50-year-old swore to Quiñones Alejandro that he would never return to the United States once he was deported for the second time.

“You are a threat to society,” the judge told him during her ruling. “Despite your exhibiting remorsefulness, it’s still a threat.”

Ramon-Vasquez also thanked the judge and said that during his time in jail, authorities treated him very well, according to Philly.com. His 21-month sentence will be served consecutively to the sentence he's serving for raping the child. 

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