The Obama administration was playing games with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by refusing to turn over a report detailing the agency’s investigation of an illegal alien, Carlos Martinelly-Montano, who is charged with killing a Virginia nun in a drunk driving accident in August 2010.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) promised a federal court it would release the report earlier this year, but then later claimed that the document was in “draft” form, and therefore would not be released. (Click here to read some of the emails back and forth we had with DHS.)
Judicial Watch received the edited “final” report on March 3, 2011. The final report, which we were told by DHS was still being “worked on” last month, is dated November 24, 2010. This lying game shows the Obama DHS is thoroughly mendacious. The DHS report details policies and actions of the Obama administration and local governments that allowed Montano, an illegal alien who committed a series of crimes, to remain on the streets despite being subject to deportation.
Here is a detailed chronology of events as described in the report, which we received through a FOIA lawsuit we filed on December 2, 2010. As you’ll see, even though the Obama administration scrubbed the report, there is more than enough evidence of the amnesty and sanctuary policy agenda of the federal government, local authorities and the courts:
On December 7, 2007, Montano was convicted for driving under the influence (DUI) in Prince William County, Virginia and was sentenced to serve 30 days of incarceration. The judge in Prince William County, however, suspended all 30 days of the jail sentence with the result that Montano was not jailed for his offense. Local authorities did not seek to determine Montano’s immigration status nor did they contact ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement]….
Almost one year later, on October 4, 2008, Montano was booked into jail in Prince William County and charged with another misdemeanor DUI. At the time of this arrest, the local authorities determined that Montano was an illegal alien. Thus, ICE lodged an immigration detainer against him. As a result of the immigration detainer, immigration officers took him into custody. On October 7, 2008, Prince William County officials released him from custody….
[Rather than detaining Montano,] ICE agents determined that Montano was a candidate for the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program and … monitored his whereabouts using GPS technology….
On April 27, 2009, as a result of the October 2008 DUI arrest, the Circuit Court of Prince William County convicted Montano and sentenced him to serve 12 months and 3 days in jail. However, the judge in Prince William County suspended 11 months and 13 days of Montano’s sentence. As a result of the judge’s decision, Montano served less than two weeks in Prince William County for his second DUI conviction….
On May 7, 2009, after Montano served the portion of his sentence that had not been suspended, ICE took him into custody. Based on Montano’s compliance during his prior participation in the ATD program, ICE officers released Montano on the prior order of supervision (dating back to 2008) with the condition that he report to ICE on a regular basis….
[While awaiting his deportation hearing,] Montano was charged on March 5, 2009, in Fairfax County, Virginia, with misdemeanor failure to appear related to driving without a license. Local officials dismissed this charge against Montano on May 5, 2009. County officials did not contact ICE. On April 27, 2010, a Manassas Park police officer cited Montano for misdemeanor reckless driving. There is no record indicating that Montano was booked or fingerprinted or that Manassas Park officials contacted ICE. On June 1, 2010, Montano was convicted for reckless driving and fined $500. Again, ICE was not contacted following the citation or conviction.
The documents clearly show that decisions made by the Executive Office for Immigration Review caused delays in the removal proceedings. Moreover, Montano’s immigration attorney successfully lobbied an immigration judge to delay Montano’s removal hearing on two occasions. The court ultimately scheduled Montano’s hearing for August 19, 2010, but it was too little too late. On August 1, 2010, while under the influence of alcohol, Montano was charged with crashing his car into another vehicle, killing one nun and critically injuring two others.
So, what excuses did the Obama administration come up with to explain this catastrophe?
The report concludes: “In 2008, when the decision was made to release Montano, fewer beds were available in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.” The report also points to government policies that allowed immigration officials “broad discretion” about how to use detention resources. The Obama administration used this discretion to release Montano in 2009, after he had served jail time for his 2008 drunken driving arrest.
Here’s what I told the Associated Press about this excuse-making:
“Most Americans expect illegal aliens to be caught and deported. To use the excuse that ‘We don’t have enough beds’ is so pathetic,” said Fitton, who accused the Obama administration [of having] a “neverending supply of reasons” it won’t detain illegal immigrants.
The “report” does not mention the series of other terrible Obama administration illegal immigration policies that continue to put illegal alien criminals on the streets.
In July 2010, the Obama administration announced it would not take legal action against “sanctuary cities” that prevent local law enforcement entities from freely communicating with federal immigration officials. In contrast, the Obama Justice Department filed a lawsuit to stop the State of Arizona from enforcing SB 1070, a get-tough illegal immigration law that mandates local law enforcement officers cooperate with federal immigration officials. The Obama administration ordered federal immigration agents to focus deportation efforts only on illegal aliens suspected of terrorist activity and those convicted of “violent” crimes.
None of these policies are going to do anything to deter illegal alien criminals from harming American citizens. In fact, they will almost assuredly make matters much worse.
Regarding the report, if this is the cleaned-up version, I can’t imagine what bombshells were included in the original version. Even in its edited form, this report is an embarrassment to the Obama administration and a clear indictment of Obama’s lawless approach to illegal immigration. An innocent nun lost her life because local police officers are not allowed–and Obama immigration officials couldn’t be bothered–to enforce and obey the law. This tragedy is a direct result of the Obama administration’s decision to undermine the enforcement of federal immigration laws.