Two individuals from El Salvador who are in the country illegally — who have now been arrested and charged with the murder of a 14-year-old Maryland girl — had previously been released from custody back into the public in defiance of an order from U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The avoidable murder of the young teenager has enraged the White House, which publicly called out the Maryland County this week for the gross neglect of its public safety responsibilities.
The White House went public Tuesday in castigating Maryland officials for ignoring the ICE detainer.
The jail director of Prince George’s County, Maryland defended the order, stating in a press conference Wednesday afternoon:
“A detainer is not a warrant. It’s a civil detainer. It’s actually a request for localities to hold inmates till ICE decides whether they want to come for them or not. And following that guidance, Prince George’s County does not notify ICE.”
According to ABC 7 News, “officials say they did not release the teens to the public.” The piece added that four days after they were taken into custody, they were moved to the Cheltenham Youth Detention Center, and released from that location in 2019.
Still, the fact that ICE was not notified of their release made it much more difficult for the federal government to track and later deport the illegal Salvadorans.
Fox 5 DC reports on the background of the alleged murderers and the Trump administration’s role in attempting to apprehend the illegal Salvadoran nationals:
Two teens charged with the murder of a 14-year-old girl in Prince George’s County were in the country illegally, previously locked up and should not have been walking free according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The piece adds:
ICE says it had a deportation detainer for Salvadoran nationals Josue Rafael Fuentes-Ponce, 16, and Joel Ernesto Escobar, 17 and had notified the Prince George’s County Department of Corrections after the teens were arrested in Prince George’s County last year accused of attempted murder and gang-related charges. ICE says it was never notified when the pair was released.
The Washington Examiner reports that the county has banned police from holding illegal immigrants for ICE, including even those charged or convicted of committing serious crimes.
“These individuals had demonstrated violent criminal behavior before, and because they were released in spite of the lawful detainer, they were afforded an opportunity to take a life,” Diane Witte, who heads the Baltimore ICE field office, said in a statement to the press.