An illegal immigrant who the city of Philadelphia refused to turn over to federal immigration officers in 2014 is now serving a prison sentence for the rape of a child and unlawful sexual contact with a minor. Juan Ramon Vasquez has now pleaded guilty to illegally reentering the country after being deported, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
Vasquez was initially deported after illegally immigrating to the U.S. from Honduras in 2009. Immigration and Customs Enforcement realized he was back in the U.S. illegally in 2014, in a Philadelphia prison, and asked the city to turn him over to federal custody. The city released him instead, and he went on to commit the crimes he is now back in prison for.
Philadelphia celebrated an 8-year battle with the federal government to officially label itself as a “sanctuary city” in June, making official its policy of refusing to fully cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. The city refuses to turn over illegal immigrants to ICE agents, unless the agency has a warrant signed by a judge.
— Steve Preston (@StevePrest) June 6, 2018
U.S. Attorney William McSwain called the policy dangerous in a statement Tuesday, and said law enforcement should be doing everything in its power to protect children from predators.
“This defendant received a free pass from the City of Philadelphia and its Department of Prisons, headed straight back into our community, and committed a heinous crime he never would have had the chance to commit had the City of Philadelphia complied with the ICE detainer,” McSwain said.