By Jennie Taer
Daily Caller News Foundation
The victim was just 8 years old when Luis Saavedra Villa kidnapped and viciously sexually assaulted her in Sweetwater County, Wyoming.
Saavedra Villa, 44, was a registered sex offender and a previously deported illegal alien from Mexico. He was convicted of sexual assault in 2001.
The night of the recent assault, Saavedra Villa drove the juvenile victim, who knew him as a family friend, to McDonald’s while her mother was away working. He then sexually assaulted her in his work truck, locking its doors to stop her attempts to escape.
After the assault, Saavedra Villa forced the victim to clean her own blood from his vehicle.
“[It] was one of the most egregious that we’ve seen,” Sweetwater Sheriff John Grossnickle, who handled the case, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
When she was found, the young girl was transported to a nearby hospital and then to emergency surgery in Utah for her injuries.
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“He was just allowed back into the country. We had no idea that he was in Sweetwater County and received no communication of that,” Grossnickle said.
“What bothers me about this case more than anything else is that it didn’t have to happen, and the damage of the fact these decisions being made in faraway Washington, D.C., they really don’t care,” Sweetwater County Attorney Dan Erramouspe told the DCNF.
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However, under President Joe Biden’s time in office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests and deportations have dropped dramatically despite the large surges in illegal immigration.
ICE deported 59,011 noncitizens in fiscal year 2021, compared to 185,884 noncitizens deported in fiscal year 2020. The agency also arrested 74,082 noncitizens during fiscal year 2021, compared to 103,603 arrests in fiscal year 2020.
Grossnickle said there has been an overall lack of cooperation with federal authorities when it comes to crimes committed by illegal aliens under the Biden administration, which has only prioritized arrests and deportations of serious criminals.
“During the Trump administration, we actively had federal authorities in our community working with us to enforce federal law, federal immigration law, simply on the basis of undocumented status, which is to say they came in because they were looking for someone who they knew was here illegally, and they were taking enforcement action on the basis of that immigration status in and of itself,” Grossnickle said.
“The current administration, and very similar to our experiences with the Obama administration, in that there is no active cooperation to enforce federal immigration law simply on the basis of someone’s documented or undocumented status. Now the focus is only exclusively after they come here illegally, and then commit serious felony-level crime. It’s only felony-level crime by an undocumented immigrant that triggers involvement from the feds,” Grossnickle said.
In Saavedra Villa’s case, however, the federal government offered to intervene, according to Erramouspe. “This is the only one [case] that I’m aware of that the feds were interested in,” Erramouspe aid.
But with the surge in illegal immigration at the southern border, Grossnickle hoped to keep Saavedra Villa locked up in the state. Handing him to federal authorities would have meant deporting Saavedra Villa and effectively allowing him to come back in.
In fact, Saavedra Villa himself knew he could return and voiced that in a since-translated phone call from jail, according to Erramouspe.
“It’s not that hard, obviously, to get back into the country. So it was really an effort by law enforcement and prosecutors to seek the maximum sentence possible to do what we could and everything within our power and our laws to ensure that he wouldn’t ever have the opportunity to victimize somebody in this way ever again, because he’s behind bars,” Grossnickle said.
Saavedra Villa was sentenced to a minimum of 125 years in prison thanks to Grossnickle and Erramouspe’s work at the local level.
“My biggest concern is the criminals that have been adjudicated that are coming back into our country and committing worse crimes than what they were deported for. And you can see that in this case. It was terrible what happened to this little girl and it’s going to happen more and more. And the way I look at it is with us being in the middle of the country, a lot of these criminals are gonna think they’re safe by coming into the middle of the United States away from where all the focus is down on the border, and it’s gonna take the smaller communities, it’s gonna take them over to where I don’t know what they’re gonna do with the resources or lack of resources to combat it,” Grossnickle said.
Roughly 20% of illegal immigrants Border Patrol arrests have criminal histories, former acting ICE Director Tom Homan told the DCNF.
“The guys don’t have a problem sneaking back into the country when 70 to 80% of agents aren’t on patrol. This all goes back to secure the border like the Trump administration did and get it to an all-time low illegal immigration. Every Border Patrol agent is on the line, every Border Patrol agent is vigilant and they’re catching more drugs and they’re catching more people. Right now, anybody can sneak across this border because it’s so wide open,” Homan said.
ICE makes its Enforcement decisions “on a case-by-case basis,” a spokesperson for the agency told the DCNF.
“ICE officers make associated decisions and apply prosecutorial discretion in a responsible manner, informed by their experience as law enforcement professionals and in a way that best protects against the greatest threats to the homeland,” the spokesperson said. “Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that protects the homeland through the arrest and removal of those who undermine the safety of our communities and the integrity of our immigration laws.
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.
This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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