A Bay Area county wouldn't give Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody over an illegal immigrant. This allowed the illegal immigrant to roam free and kill his girlfriend.

The illegal, Nery Israel Estrada-Margos, was first arrested and held in Sonoma County Jail on August 2 on charges of battery. ICE had issued a detainer request for Estrada-Margos, but the jail let him walk free the day after he posted his $30,000 bail.

On August 18, Estrada-Margos turned himself in to the Santa Rosa police for beating his girlfriend, identified as Veronica Cabrera Ramirez, to the point where he was afraid he had killed her. The police found her dead.

Sonoma County Interim Sheriff Rob Giordano pinned the blame on ICE for not picking up Estrada-Margos, but The Daily Caller is reporting that the county provided ICE "only 16 minutes to travel over 60 miles," meaning that Sonoma County basically let him walk: (emphasis bolded)

“Immigration detainers serve as a legally authorized request, upon which a law enforcement agency may rely, to continue to maintain custody of an alien for up to 48 hours so that ICE may assume custody for removal purposes,” Schwab wrote. “At 8:20 p.m. the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office notified ICE’s local office that Mr. Estrada was pending release. The Sheriff’s Office then released Mr. Estrada 16 minutes later at 8:36 p.m.”

Schwab noted that the “vast majority” of notifications that ICE receives from Sonoma County, especially over the last six months, “have failed to provide sufficient advance notification to pick up these criminals.”

“This case underscores yet again why immigration detainers are such a crucial enforcement tool and why it is highly problematic, and even tragic, when jurisdictions choose not to comply,” Schwab continued. “ICE continues to seek to collaborate with law enforcement agencies in northern California and nationwide to promote public safety and prevent potentially dangerous criminal aliens from being released back into our communities.”

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department doesn't allow its officers to "engage in federal immigration enforcement, arrest or detain any person solely for immigration status violations". On August 18, the sheriff issued a new policy stating that the department will only cooperate with ICE if the request involves someone who has been convicted of a felony or specific misdemeanors. However, under this policy Estrada-Margos still would have walked because he had no prior convictions on his record.

In February, the city of Sonoma made it clear that they wouldn't cooperate with the federal government on deportations. In January, the city of Santa Rosa declared itself an "indivisible city," which seemed to be their way of calling themselves a sanctuary city. Naturally, Santa Rosa's police doesn't collect "information on immigration status of those arrested and booked in jail," per the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.

The case of Estrada-Margos is yet another example of the link between illegal immigration and crime and shows how galling it is when a city or county refuses to cooperate with ICE — had Sonoma County simply held onto Estrada-Margos until ICE arrived, Ramirez might still be alive.

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