U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lodged an immigration detainer on a Salvadoran national serving time for a murder conviction at the California Department of Corrections at Pleasant Valley Prison in Chowchilla, California, Aug. 28, 2013. The request was not honored, and Carlos Morales-Ramirez was released onto the streets Dec. 4.

On Jan. 9, 1998, Morales-Ramirez, now 44, was convicted of second-degree murder, assault on a child causing death, and great bodily injury to a child causing death by the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles.

“State sanctuary laws grant law enforcement officials the discretion to cooperate with immigration authorities in instances where serious or violent crimes have been committed; again, 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,” ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Los Angeles Field Office Director Dave Marin said in a statement.

ICE’s ERO Los Angeles officers arrested Morales-Ramirez during a targeted enforcement action, Dec. 10, and served him with a Notice to Appear (NTA) pursuant to section 237(a)(2)(A)(iii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Morales-Ramirez’s conviction makes him amenable to be placed in removal proceedings and he remains in ICE custody pending the outcome of his hearing.

California’s sanctuary policies continue to fail residents by allowing convicted criminals like Morales-Ramirez to walk free—state officials and advocates need to take a hard look at the reality, and potential consequences, of these misguided laws that leave potential victims wildly unprotected from very egregious criminal offenders,” Marin said.

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