An elderly woman could have avoided a violent death had New York City fully cooperated with the federal government to deport an illegal alien before he could allegedly kill her, a grieving family member has said.

Daria Ortiz believes her 92-year-old grandmother would be alive today if New York City was not a sanctuary city and followed orders from the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to deport Guyanese immigrant Reeaz Khan.

“Unfortunately, my grandmother had to be the example of why something like this horrific crime should never happen,” Ortiz told the National Border Patrol Council according to Fox News. “The tragedy in all of this is the fact that this could have been avoided, had there been no sanctuary law.”

Paramedics discovered grandmother Maria Fuertes in a life threatening condition at about 2 a.m. on Jan. 6, in South Richmond Hill, 15 miles east of downtown Manhattan. The woman was transported to hospital where she died from a broken spine and other injuries.

“The tragedy is my grandmother is not ever going to be here again,” Ortiz said. “Our family’s hope is that her death was not in vain and that preventative measures are put in place to make sure nothing like this ever happens to anyone again.”

Khan, 21, was charged with sexually assaulting and murdering Fuertes, who used to work as secretary to the president of the Dominican Republic. The accused has pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

ICE had already contacted city authorities to have Khan removed from the country because of his illegal immigration status and criminal history.

“The man that is responsible for this should have never had the opportunity to do this, had his multiple offenses had not been ignored,” Ortiz said. “The system not only failed our family but it failed our city.”

President Donald Trump believes deporting Khan should have been a relatively straightforward process for local authorities to carry out.

“If New York had simply honored ICE’s detainer request, a very simple thing to do, Maria Fuertes could be with her family right now,” he said.

Fuertes’s surviving family members will remember her as a “generous” and an “educated” woman who devoted her time to caring for others.

“She is a shining example of when people come legally to this country, work hard and do the right thing, and are law abiding citizens,” Ortiz said. “My grandmother raised her children and grandchildren while working hard to give us a future.”

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