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Chuck Grassley Demands Answers About Honduran Illegal Alien Accused of Murdering Five

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is asking U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) Director Sarah Saldaña why an illegal alien with a violent criminal history who lied to law enforcement was permitted to remain in the U.S. until he allegedly murdered five people.

The illegal alien had been arrested in 2012 near the Southern California border for breaking into the country, but released a week later they released him, even though he lied to them about his age so he could be processed as an “unaccompanied minor.” He stopped checking in with ICE in 2014.

Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice explained ICE shrugged off the illegal alien’s disappearance, saying the agency only “focus[es] on individuals who pose a public safety threat.” The Obama administration’s “priority enforcement program,” which ICE follows, dramatically slashed enforcement operations, resulting in a record low in overall deportations and deportations of illegal aliens who went on to commit more crimes in the U.S.

Johnny Josue Sanchez, 21, an illegal alien from Honduras was arrested for setting fire to a building where homeless people lived in Los Angeles. In June, Sanchez allegedly “started the fire to avenge a beating he took in a dispute over occupying a room” according to the Los Angeles Times. 

Grassley sent Saldaña a series of questions, inquiring why the violent illegal alien was ignored by ICE until he allegedly killed five people:

Why did ICE release Yoni Josue Sanchez on November 13, 2012, after he had lied to Border Patrol agents about his birth date?

What is ICE’s written policy about how to handle individuals who are apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol for illegal entry but have lied about their date of birth in order to be processed as a juvenile and be released?

How many individuals in fiscal years 2015 and 2016 have been determined to have lied about their birth date but were later confirmed not to be a juvenile?

When Sanchez was interviewed upon entry, he claimed he had family members in the country and that he traveled from Honduras with a brother and cousin. Has ICE taken any steps to locate those relatives?

Was ICE ever aware of Sanchez’s previous arrests? Why didn’t ICE issue a detainer on Yoni Josue Sanchez when he was arrested on January 2, 2016, for corporal injury of a spouse/cohabitant, or on May 27, 2016, when he was arrested for possession of paraphernalia of a controlled substance, or on June 8, 2016, when he was arrested for possession of a controlled substance?

What communication, if any, has ICE had with Los Angeles about its sanctuary policies?

Does Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) or the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office (LACSO) participate in the administration’s PEP program?

How many detainers or Requests for Notice, or Requests for Voluntary Transfer has LAPD and LACSO ignored in the last five years? How many requests have been honored?

How is ICE communicating with LACSO about this particular case involving Mr. Sanchez? Do you have any fear that the LACSO will release him without notifying your agency?

Los Angeles County is a sanctuary jurisdiction: The sheriff’s office will not honor ICE detainer requests so federal officials can pick up illegal aliens detained by local law enforcement. The state of California is also a sanctuary state, allowing local law enforcement to refuse ICE detainer requests unless the illegal alien in question meets a set of criteria.

Sanchez may face the death penalty if convicted on the murder charges.

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