NEW YORK — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers arrested Irvin Acaphelus Cespedes, 41, Wednesday, Oct.16. Cespedes, an illegally present Jamaican national who has pending attempted murder charges, was released three times between April and October 2019 from local law enforcement custody with an active detainer because of New York City’s sanctuary policies.
“ICE in New York has repeatedly stated that we prioritize the arrest of criminal aliens, and we act in the interest of public safety, unlike New York City politicians who act in the interest of their own personal views while risking the safety of their constituents,” said Thomas R. Decker, field office director of ERO New York. “Cespedes was released on an active ICE detainer multiple times, including after being charged with attempted murder, and instead of him being turned over to our custody, he was released again into the community to continue his threat on the citizens of New York.”
On April 18, 2019, Cespedes was arrested by the New York Police Department (NYPD) for the charges of criminal possession of marijuana 3rd: aggravate weight more than 8 ounces, criminal possession of marijuana 4th, criminal possession of marijuana 4th: aggregate weight more than 2 ounces, criminal possession of marijuana 5th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. The next day,ERO deportation officers lodged a detainer with the NYPD. The detainer was not honored and Cespedes was released.
On July 7, Cespedes was again arrested by the NYPD for the charges of assault 2nd: intent to cause serious injury with a weapon, attempted murder: intentional, assault 2nd: with intent to cause serious physical injury, assault 2nd: intent to cause physical injury with weapon/instrument, assault 3rd: with intent to cause physical injury, criminal possession weapon 4th: intent to use. On the same date, ERO deportation officers lodged a detainer with the NYPD. The detainer was not honored and Cespedes was released from the custody of the New York City Department of Correction (NYCDOC).
On Oct 12, Cespedes was again arrested by the NYPD for the charges of criminal possession of marijuana 4th: aggregate weight more than 2 ounces, and unlawful possession of marijuana 1st: ounce or more. ERO deportation officers lodged a detainer with the NYPD, but it was not honored and he was released from custody.
On Oct 16, ERO deportation officers arrested Cespedes in the Bronx, New York. He is currently detained in ICE custody pending a removal hearing before an immigration judge.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lodges detainers on individuals who have been arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens. The detainer asks the other law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of release and to maintain custody of the alien for a brief period of time so that ICE can take custody of that person in a safe and secure setting upon release from that agency’s custody. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission.
Congress has established no process, requirement, or expectation directing ICE to seek a judicial warrant from already overburdened federal courts before taking custody of an alien on civil immigration violations. This idea is simply a figment created by those who wish to undermine immigration enforcement and excuse the ill-conceived practices of sanctuary jurisdictions that put politics before public safety.
Sanctuary Policies Put Public Safety at Risk
- When law enforcement agencies don’t honor ICE detainers, these individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released onto the street, presenting a potential public safety threat. When ICE Fugitive Operations officers have to go out into the community to proactively locate these criminal aliens, it can create additional risks to our personnel and to public safety.
- Any local jurisdiction thinking that refusing to cooperate with ICE will result in a decrease in local immigration enforcement is mistaken. Local jurisdictions that choose to not cooperate with ICE are likely to see an increase in ICE enforcement activity, as ICE the agency has no choice but to conduct more at-large arrest operations. A consequence of ICE being forced to make more arrests on the streets is the agency is likely to encounter other unlawfully present foreign nationals that wouldn’t have been encountered had we been allowed to take custody of a criminal target within the confines of a local jail.
- Additionally, once these criminals are out on the street, confirming their whereabouts is often time consuming and resource intensive. Many of our arrest targets are seasoned criminals who are savvy about eluding law enforcement.
Despite the severe challenges that local policies have created for ICE, we remain committed to our public safety mission and we will continue to do our sworn duty to seek out dangerous criminal aliens and other immigration violators. ICE seeks straightforward cooperation with all local law enforcement and elected officials.
ICE deportation officers carry out targeted enforcement actions every day in locations around the country as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect the nation, uphold public safety, and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls. ERO New York’s area of responsibility includes the City of New York, and the following counties: Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester.