The illegal immigrant who allegedly carjacked two elderly women at gunpoint and led police on a high-speed car chase in Kansas City, Missouri earlier this month had a prior felony record and multiple contacts with federal immigration officials, according to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
Eduardo Irhneis Escobar, an illegal immigrant from Honduras, was arrested on August 16, 2016 after he attacked two women, ages 63 and 91, and stole their car, allegedly shoving the 91-year old out of the vehicle in the process. Law enforcement caught Escobar after he led them on a dangerous car chase and crashed the vehicle into an embankment.
According to Goodlatte, the astonishing nature of the crime is not necessarily the brutality of the crime, but the fact that Escobar was apparently on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s radar — and had at least one prior felony — but was never removed from the U.S.
“The level of apparent violence and callousness exhibited by Escobar toward the helpless victims of this robbery is astonishing,” Goodlatte wrote in a letter Monday to Department of Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson. “Equally astonishing is the fact that Escobar was not in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), despite his illegal presence and a 2010 conviction for felony assault.”
The Virginia lawmaker detailed that not only did Escobar have a criminal history prior to the carjacking, but that ICE said he “has been encountered several times [by ICE] since 2010,” and was released from custody on August 8 due to a “clerical error.” Additionally, Escobar tried to portray himself as a U.S. citizen, based on his mother’s false claim to citizenship via a stolen birth certificate. Escobar’s mother was convicted in 2014 for the false claim.
“So, it is incomprehensible that Escobar was not held in ICE custody pending proceedings to seek his removal from the United States,” Goodlatte wrote. “Instead, he was allowed to remain at large and brutally rob and attack these vulnerable victims.”
Goodlatte pressed Johnson for more information about Escobar’s criminal record, his immigration record, gang ties, possible immigration benefits, and DHS’s various interactions with him.
“Escobar is an unlawfully present alien with a violent felony conviction, who was known to ICE and apparently taken into custody, but inexplicably released back to the street,” Goodlatte concluded. “Thus, it would appear that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not take all appropriate actions to ensure the safety and security of the American public.”