ICE: Illegal Charged With Vehicular Homicide Not a Priority for Detention

Illegal released due to Obama and DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson 2014 policy of deporting only those with “the most serious criminal records.”

Edwin Mejia (aka Eswin Mejia), 19, came to the U.S. illegally as part of the surge of unaccompanied children from Central America in May 2013.  The Border Patrol turned him over to social services, who sent him to live with his brother, already in the U.S.   In January of this year, Mejia was street racing while drunk, in Omaha, Nebraska.   He struck a vehicle driven by Sarah Root, 21, who later died as a result of her injuries.  

 Mejia was charged with vehicular homicide, and despite several requests by the Douglas County Police Department, ICE never came to pick him up for detention.   Mejia posted a $5,000 bond and disappeared, and Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse is demanding answers.

ICE Director Sarah Saldana responded that neither the Obama administration policy nor federal law required ICE to detain Mejia.  Ms. Saldana said being charged with vehicular homicide wasn’t enough to make Mr. Mejia a priority under standards set by Mr. Obama and Mr. Johnson in 2014.

“Even if he were convicted of the offense, motor vehicle homicide — driving under the influence, the conviction would not constitute a crime of violence under the immigration laws, and consequently, would not constitute an aggravated felony,” she wrote. “The conviction would not render him subject to mandatory detention, nor would it significantly impact his eligibility to apply for relief or protection from removal.”

Ms. Saldana said her agency has asked Honduran officials to see if he shows up back there.

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