A 38-year-old illegal alien from El Salvador who had been charged with first-degree rape has been arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) following a failed ICE detainer, according to a release.
Antonio Ulises Perez—who was released from custody after the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office failed to honor a detainer—“almost immediately” went to the home of the woman he allegedly raped. He had been released from the Oklahoma County Jail on Oct. 9.
ICE deportation officers arrested Perez the same day in Oklahoma City. Perez remains in the custody of ICE, pending disposition of his immigration proceedings.
ICE had lodged an immigration detainer with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 8, where they requested the sheriff’s office to transfer the custody of Perez to ICE, in the event he was scheduled to be released from custody, according to the agency. The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, however, refused to honor the detainer, “in direct contravention of federal immigration law.”
Federal law states that ICE has the authority to lodge immigration detainers with law enforcement agencies if the individuals are arrested on criminal charges, and if ICE has probable cause to believe they are removable aliens.
The United States is dealing with a rising influx of illegal aliens, most of whom are traveling through Mexico from Central America. As of August, there have been 811,016 apprehensions along the Southwest Border in fiscal year 2019, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Such incidents as the one involving Perez aren’t isolated, according to the agency. Just a few months ago, Oklahoma County made the decision to not honor ICE detainers anymore, resulting in criminal aliens being released back into the local community.
“It is unconscionable that someone who is sworn to uphold the law would find it acceptable to release an alleged rapist who is illegally present in the U.S. back into the community when there are other options available under federal immigration law,” Marc Moore, field office director for ICE Dallas, said in a statement.
“Within a few hours of being released, this illegal alien was back at the home of the rape victim where he was free to re-victimize her and harm other members of the community,” Moore said.
“Fortunately, ICE deportation officers were able to quickly locate this individual and safely take him back into custody.”
Perez was first arrested by the sheriff’s office on Sept. 30 and was charged with first-degree rape.
In response to the ICE release, the sheriff’s office said the agency erroneously reported that they had arrested the individual when another law enforcement agency did. The office, in an Oct. 10 release, also said ICE made a mistake when describing the arrestee as being charged with rape as he was never formally charged but was booked on a complaint.
ICE has stated that approximately 70 percent of the arrests the agency carries out take place after they are notified about an illegal alien being released from local jails or state prisons.
“In fiscal year 2019, ICE has lodged more than 160,000 detainers with local law enforcement agencies,” according to the agency.
Meanwhile, the backlog in U.S. immigration court cases has exceeded 1 million, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research organization at Syracuse University said in September.
As of the end of August, the court’s backlog of active cases reached 1,007,155, the data showed. This year, in particular, the backlog of pending court cases has surged when compared to previous years.
This article has been updated