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An undocumented immigrant and convicted child murderer was released from a California prison despite a request that he be turned over to federal immigration agents, officials said.
Carlos Morales-Ramirez, a citizen of El Salvador, was sprung earlier this month from Valley State Prison in Chowchilla, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement Monday.
The 44-year-old Morales-Ramirez had been serving time on charges of murder, assault on a child causing death and great bodily injury to a child causing death.
ICE officials said his release defied their petition for him to be handed over to them to begin deportation proceedings.
“The request was not honored, and Carlos Morales-Ramirez was released onto the streets Dec. 4,” the agency said.
The state’s policy allows local law enforcement agencies to disregard detainer requests from immigration officials.
“State sanctuary laws grant law enforcement officials the discretion to cooperate with immigration authorities in instances where serious or violent crimes have been committed,” said Dave Marin, who is director of the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in Los Angeles, in a statement.
Marin slammed the sanctuary policies, claiming that they “continue to fail residents by allowing convicted criminals like Morales-Ramirez to walk free.”
“We are talking about the murder of a child – rather than working with our officers to ensure this convicted aggravated felon was safely handed over to ICE, he was released back into the community and our officers were forced to exhaust more time and resources relocating and re-arresting him,” Marin continued.
Sanctuary policy advocates said it allows undocumented immigrants to come forward to report crimes or as witnesses without fear of being deported.
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