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Saturday, November 20, 2010

ICE Frees Illegal Immigrant Facing 12 Years

Article first published as ICE Executes Perfect "Prison Break" For Man Facing 12 Years on Technorati.


Immigration and Customs Enforcement Administration (ICE), a division of homeland security, orchestrated a “prison break” for a man facing 12 years for felony theft from an at-risk adult. The prosecutor is furious.

ICE deported a record number of people in 2010. In fact, the pace is nothing short of frenetic. The agency is falling over it’s self arresting immigrants and citizens alike, figuring if it throws enough mud at the wall some of it will stick. For example, the ACLU sued ICE because they arrested an entire Greyhound Bus full of people only to find out they were US citizens en-route to an Amway convention.

Once in custody, the deportations are just as quick as the arrests. At processing, ICE agents rarely advise undocumented workers they have a right to legal counsel. Instead, an agreement for a fast repatriation to their home country is often coerced.

“If you agree to sign this paper we will have you on a bus in a few days,” undocumented workers are told. “Otherwise, you could be here for a long time.” The inmate often has legitimate defenses but never gets a chance to assert them.

Immigrants accused of a crime are usually spared deportation until their case has been to trial. However, once trial is over, ICE has no respect for the jurisdiction of the Court. ICE regularly deports immigrants even when the judge places the immigrant under supervisory probation, prohibiting the immigrant from leaving the state, or when he is required to pay fines, complete community service and pay restitution to victims.


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Recently, however, ICE bested itself. The agency deported Damacio Torres-Ochoa, who along with Alvaro Cardona, allegedly tried to steal a flat bed trailer from 81 year old Robert Wallace. The problem is, ICE deported Torres-Ochoa before he could get to trial. If he had been convicted, the D.A. was looking for 12 years.

The problem occurred when Torres-Ochoa bonded out of jail on October fourth, 2010. On October sixth, ICE arrested Torres-Ochoa. When the undocumented worker appeared in front of the immigration officer the agency offered to race him out of the country.  Torres-Ochoa agreed, at least that is what ICE says.  He was deported on October 19th.

On the day of trial, everyone showed up except for Torres-Ochoa.

"They are complicit in his escape from justice" Scott Storey, the Jefferson County, Colorado, District Attorney responsible for prosecuting Torres Ochoa said to the Denver Post. Storey, careful not to get on the bad side of ICE, said the immigrant “self deported (himself)”.

Immigrants in custody can’t go anywhere without someone opening the door to the jail cell. The reality is, ICE pulled off the perfect prison break for a guy who could have done more than a decade behind bars.

"By law, once we have received all necessary travel documents on an alien in ICE custody, we must remove him or her at the earliest opportunity," said Carl Rusnok, spokesman for ICE. Not only did ICE remove Torres-Ochoa, they flew him, likely by private plane, to El Paso and walked him to the border.

The story is not over yet as Torres-Ochoa will likely be apprehended in time.  Rather, the story took a sad bend early on.  When the 81 “at risk” victim, Robert Wallace, spotted the two men allegedly stealing his trailer, he opened fire. Alvaro Cardona was shot through the eye blinding him and turning a bright man into a near vegetable. After being charged with attempted first degree murder, Wallace made a plea deal which included two years of probation and no jail


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