By R. Mitchell –
DENVER — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) filed a detainer July 14 with the Arapahoe County Jail on a convicted felon accused of assaulting a woman on the High Line Canal Trail in Aurora, Colorado.
Unlawfully present Guatemalan national, Julio Andres Gonzalez-Palacios, 23, was arrested for assault and burglary July 9 by the Denver Police Department.
On July 10, the Denver Justice Center refused to honor the immigration detainer and released Gonzalez-Palacio back into the community to reoffend.
After his release, Gonzalez-Palacios allegedly attacked a woman exercising on the High Line Canal Trail. Gonzalez-Palacios is back in custody of the Arapahoe County Jail, charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
“This was a completely preventable crime,” said John Fabbricatore, field office director, ERO Denver. “Gonzalez-Palacios could have been safely transferred to ICE custody and he may have been removed from the country, but due to Colorado’s misguided sanctuary law, law enforcement agencies are no longer able to work with us to keep repeat offenders off the streets.”
Gonzalez-Palacios has several convictions in multiple jurisdictions around the Denver area since 2017. During that time he has entered and been released from local custody back into the community on multiple occasions.
His past convictions include theft, assault, failure to appear and trespassing.
Gonzalez-Palacios entered the country through Orlando, Florida, as a nonimmigrant visitor with permission to remain in the U.S. until June 3, 2017. He failed to depart in accordance with the terms of his admission.
The Colorado sanctuary law enacted in 2019 prohibits a law enforcement officer from arresting or detaining an individual solely on the basis of a civil immigration detainer despite any criminal charge or conviction the individual may have.
“I will continue to bring light to policies that endanger our community,” continued Fabbricatore. “Lawmakers must put aside politics and look at the best way to prevent crime and keep the people of Colorado safe. The first step toward that is to get back to allowing law enforcement agencies to work together, as it should be.”
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.
ICE remains 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 focuses its limited resources, first and foremost, on those who pose the greatest threat to public safety and border security and does not target aliens indiscriminately; the agency conducts investigations and gathers intelligence on specific individuals for immigration enforcement.
Targets are often those who were arrested on local criminal charges or have blatant disregard for U.S. immigration laws. The agency’s arrest statistics clearly reflect this. Nationally, approximately 86 percent of all people arrested by ICE during fiscal year 2019 either had a criminal conviction, a pending criminal charge, had illegally re-entered the United States after being previously removed (a felony charge) or were an immigration fugitive subject to a judge’s final order of removal.
Members of the public who have information about foreign fugitives are urged to contact ICE by calling the ICE Tip Line at 1 (866) 347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199. They can also file a tip online by completing ICE’s online tip form.
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