While the debate wages on about immigration policies and sanctuary cities, the case of a man who committed a horrific crime has come to the forefront since he was not deported due to Philadelphia’s sanctuary city status. The undocumented immigrant from Honduras, Juan Ramon Vasquez, also known as Ramon Aguirre-Ochoa, was first deported from the U.S. in 2009. He reentered the United States and was arrested in 2014 for domestic abuse before being released by the Philadelphia Police Department.
He was not handed over to ICE but the organization requested they be notified when he was released so they could deport him.
The police department did not honor that request since Vasquez was in a sanctuary city.
In 2016, he was arrested again on child rape charges and was jailed last year in a Pennsylvania state federal prison on that charge with a sentence between eight and 20 years.
Last week, he pleaded guilty to reentering the country illegally after his 2009 deportation, which will add a maximum of two years to his sentence.
After Vasquez completes his sentences, Philadelphia officials will decide if he will be handed over to ICE or not. This week, U.S. Attorney William M McSwain criticized the decision to let Vasquez go in 2015, noting: “The facts of this case highlight the danger posed by the City of Philadelphia’s decision to disregard ICE detainers and release previously deported aliens from local custody.”
Further, McSwain shared: “Those of us in the law enforcement business should be doing everything in our power to protect vulnerable children from predators like Vasquez. Instead, 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.”
Vasquez’s case has now become part of the debate about sanctuary cities and immigration.
McSwain blamed sanctuary city status for “foster[ing] mistrust between the community and local law enforcement” by favoring undocumented immigrants, telling Inquirer and Daily News: “If it turns out by playing favorites that you’re allowing children to get raped, my office is going to have a big problem with that.”
When District Attorney Larry Krasner was asked about McSwain’s statement, he noted: “That’s very dramatic. The Trump administration has made it so that immigrant children can get raped because they’re afraid to call the police… [due to its] policies of deporting people who are victims.”
Further, Mayor Kenney noted: “We have the highest respect for law enforcement at the federal level. We just happen to disagree on this particular issue… That does not mean we will not cooperate on human trafficking, on drug cases, on all kinds of cases.”
Among those people who weighed in to debate the case on the Daily Mail’s coverage of the topic was one person who offered this perspective: :Every person who helped this man evade the law needs to be charged with aiding and abetting of each and every child rape this man committed. This man needs to be put down like a dog, and those that enabled him need to be sitting in prison for life.”