Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA) chastised Sen. Bob Casey’s (D-PA) support for sanctuary cities on Monday, contending that a five-year-old rape victim was not provided “sanctuary” from criminal illegal aliens.
Last week, Juan Ramon Vasquez, a 45-year old Honduran national, was sentenced to two years in jail for illegally entering the country. Vasquez raped a five-year-old child after Philadelphia authorities ignored an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer and released him. Vasquez was deported from the country in 2009 but was later re-entered the United States illegally. Rep. Barletta slammed Sen. Casey for supporting the city of brotherly love’s sanctuary city policy.
Barletta asked rhetorically, “How would Bob Casey justify his support for sanctuary cities to the family of the little girl who was raped? Does Bob Casey believe it was a sanctuary city for them?”
William McSwain, the U.S. Attorney for the Philadelphia region, said in a statement last week, “The facts of this case highlight the danger posed by the City of Philadelphia’s decision to disregard ICE detainers and release previously deported aliens from local custody.”
In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, McSweeney blamed Philadelphia’s sanctuary city status for “fostering mistrust between the community and local law enforcement” by favoring illegal aliens.
Stu Bykofksy, a staff columnist for the Inquirer, noted in his article, “Given sanctuary in Philly, he raped a child”:
ICE had requested that he be detained for deportation, but our self-righteous city turned the Honduran loose, and the next time he was in custody it was for raping a 5-year-old girl. I’m sure the victim’s family appreciates Kenney’s policy that protects foreign convicted felons, which is what Vasquez was.
Sen. Casey voted against legislation in 2016 to defund sanctuary cities, including Philadelphia, as well as Kate’s Law, which imposes harsher penalties on illegal immigrants who reenter the United States. Kate’s Law would have hit Vasquez, who reentered the country after previously being deported.
“If someone is deported for a criminal conviction then we need to make sure they are prevented from ever coming back into this country,” Sen. Casey said in a 2016 statement.
Congressman Barletta said last year that “everyone’s family is put at risk” by sanctuary cities.