Immigration officials are investigating how multiple child sex offenders were nearly released back onto the streets, following a new presidential directive.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) almost freed two men who were already convicted of sexually assaulting a teenager and a third found guilty of acting indecently with a child. A further 23 who were also nearly released were convicted of either drug or drunk driving charges.
“[ICE] makes arrests and custody determinations on a case-by-case basis, based on the totality of the circumstances and does so in compliance with federal law and agency policy,” the agency said in a statement obtained by Fox News.
The agency confirmed Jose Lara-Lopez, 41, is one of the convicted sex offenders who is still in custody. Lara-Lopez allegedly sexually assaulted a minor and was previously detained at Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, 70 miles north of Houston.
The mix-up happened after the Biden administration released a memorandum that ordered ICE to prioritize national security, public safety, and illegal aliens who entered the country after the beginning of November.
“Due to limited resources, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cannot respond to all immigration violations or remove all persons unlawfully in the United States,” department acting Secretary David Pekoske said in a letter. “Rather, DHS must implement civil immigration enforcement based on sensible priorities and changing circumstances. DHS’s civil immigration enforcement priorities are protecting national security, border security, and public safety.”
The specific criteria is as follows:
- National security. Individuals who have engaged in or are suspected of terrorism or espionage, or whose apprehension, arrest and/or custody is otherwise necessary to protect the national security of the United States
- Border security. Individuals apprehended at the border or ports of entry while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States on or after Nov. 1, 2020, or who were not physically present in the United States before Nov. 1, 2020
- Public safety. Individuals incarcerated within federal, state, and local prisons and jails released on or after the issuance of this memorandum who have been convicted of an “aggravated felony,” as that term is defined in section 101(a) (43) of the Immigration and Nationality Act at the time of conviction, and are determined to pose a threat to public safety.
Anyone convicted of child sex offenses still qualifies for enforcement under Joe Biden’s policy since the memorandum defines public safety threats as people “who have been convicted of an aggravated felony.”
Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott criticized Biden’s immigration policy for “threatening safety” in the Lone Star State.
“A prisoner convicted of child sex assault is set for release today but has an ICE detainer that should have him deported,” he said on Twitter. “Biden is releasing him into our community. I am asking the Texas attorney general to take legal action.”