NY City Corrections Releases MS-13 Gangbanger Despite ICE Detainer

(Paul Chesser, Liberty Headlines) Even though the federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement had a detainer in force for him, Rikers Island correctional officials released an acknowledged MS-13 gang member into the public on February 16th.

PHOTO: ICE

Estivan Rafael Marques Velasquez, a Salvadoran national, had served time at the jail, which is operated by the City of New York. According to its press release, ICE notified Rikers of Velasquez’s status on May 3, 2016, but “he was released with disregard for the active detainer.” The agency of the Department of Homeland Security said Velasquez has a criminal history in the United States that includes reckless endangerment and criminal weapon possession. He served time at Rikers under a charge of disorderly conduct.

“This man is by his own admission a member of a violent street gang and he was released back into the community,” said Thomas R. Decker, field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in New York. “Honoring a detainer request is not about politics, it is about keeping New York citizens safe.”

The ICE press release said Velasquez entered the U.S. without being inspected by an immigration officer. He was issued an order to appear in court in July 2014 and in November 2015 he was ordered to be removed by an immigration judge.

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Velasquez was arrested by ICE officers in Queens on the same day he was released by Rikers.

Last month New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio pledged to sue the Trump administration over an order to limit federal funds to sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants. He told CNN that the policies “keep the cities safe.”

Decker begs to differ.

“The city’s current policy…is creating a potentially unsafe environment for its residents,” he said. “ICE remains steadfast in solidifying its relationship with local law enforcement in the interest of public safety and national security.”