New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s sanctuary policy is “the sole reason” 92-year-old Maria Fuertes is dead today, Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Matthew Albence says.
Reeaz Khan, a 21-year-old illegal alien from Guyana, was arrested late last week and charged with sexually assaulting and murdering 92-year-old Maria Fuertes by strangling her to death on a sidewalk in Richmond Hill, Queens.
As Breitbart News exclusively reported, Khan first arrived in New York City on a B-2 tourist visa in May 2016 but never departed, overstaying his visa for three years. That violation of federal immigration law makes Khan an illegal alien.
On November 27, the New York Police Department (NYPD) charged Khan with assault and criminal possession of a weapon. ICE agents filed a request that Khan be turned over to them for arrest should he be released from NYPD custody. That request, though, was ignored and police freed him back into the general public.
During a press conference on Friday, Albence scolded de Blasio for his defense of the NYPD releasing Khan two months before Fuertes’ alleged murder:
Time and time again, our efforts and our warnings to the disastrous consequences of noncooperation and even outright interference have gone unheard resulting in tragedies such as this one — countless victims whose lives are forever scarred at the hands of illegal criminal aliens. [Emphasis added]
As long as politicians continue to put their own self-interest over those they’ve sworn to protect, and frankly, those who actually put them in office, this tragic situation will be repeated again and again. Make no mistake, it is this city’s sanctuary policies that are the sole reason that this criminal was allowed to roam the streets freely and end an innocent woman’s life. [Emphasis added]
So here I am again, pleading to the people of New York City and to the people of other sanctuary cities, let ICE help you. Let us help you keep your communities safe. We can actually prevent crimes such as these brutal sexual offenses and murders like we saw here this past week. These [sanctuary] policies plain and simple … make all of us less safe, which is the opposite of the primary goal of every law enforcement officer and law enforcement agency and every elected official should be. [Emphasis added]
If NYPD officers had called ICE to take custody of Khan in November, Albence said “Maria Fuertes could be alive today.”
Khan was indicted this week by a grand jury on 7-counts, including second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, first-degree attempted rape, first-degree sexual abuse, and tampering with physical evidence.
In the indictment, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz described the brutal attack on Fuertes which allegedly began when Khan charged at the elderly woman from behind and knocked her to the ground.
The indictment reads:
Khan then allegedly attacked her from behind, knocked the 92-year-old onto the sidewalk. The defendant is alleged to have sexually assaulted her, according to the autopsy performed by the medical examiner.
Ms. Fuertes was found by a passerby at approximately 2:14 a.m., who called 911. The victim, who was barely conscious and incoherent … sustained a fractured spine in 2 places, 2 rib fractures, bruising to her neck and chest and other injuries and died as a result of the injuries.
De Blasio defended Khan’s prior release by NYPD, saying that criminal illegal aliens will only ever be turned over to ICE if they are convicted of victimizing Americans and that violent crime charges do not meet that threshold.
More than 7,500 criminal illegal aliens were released in the sanctuary state of New York in 2019 — including convicted murderers, convicted sex offenders, and convicted assailants.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.