On Friday, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency criticized New Jersey for only offering “limited cooperation” after a twice-deported illegal immigrant was charged with kidnapping, raping, and murdering a woman.
On March 24, the body of a 45-year-old nanny was discovered in a lake in Lincoln Park in Jersey City. Carolina Cano is believed to have been jogging in the park when she went missing. The cause of death was cited by the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office as strangulation and water submersion, according to the Washington Examiner.
The suspect, 33-year-old Jorge Alberto Rios-Doblado, entered the U.S. illegally and was deported in 2003 and 2004 to his home country of Honduras, USA Today reported. It is unknown when he returned to the U.S.
Rios-Doblado was charged with murdering, kidnapping, and raping Cano. He was seen on a surveillance video around the time Cano was murdered and near where her body was discovered, according to NJ.com. Cano and Rios-Doblado were reportedly strangers.
Cano was an immigrant from Peru who has worked in the U.S. for two years.
According to Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez, Rios-Doblado has no previous criminal record.
NJ.com reports that if Rios-Doblado is convicted, he will serve his prison term in the United States before possibly being deported for the third time. He could face 30 years to life for murder if convicted.
ICE is now criticizing New Jersey for a directive issued by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in November which prevents the state and local police departments from “assisting federal immigration on authorities with ‘civil immigration law,’ with some exceptions,” reported USA Today.
"ICE maintains that cooperation by local law enforcement is an indispensable component of promoting public safety," the Newark ICE office said in a statement. "ICE will seek taking custody of Rios-Doblado at the conclusion of his criminal proceedings, despite limited cooperation in the state.”
On Wednesday, Grewal claimed the policy was inspired by “overly zealous enforcement of immigration laws” which may discourage people from reporting crimes to the police.
"Our job as state law enforcement officers is to enforce the criminal laws of this state and that's all we told our law enforcement officers through that directive," Grewal said to state lawmakers about the policy. "We don’t enforce civil immigration deportation orders."
In an opinion piece on NJ1015, radio host Dennis Malloy said that New Jersey’s policies are why Rios-Doblado was drawn to the state.
“Perhaps he was drawn to New Jersey due to the rhetoric of the governor and top state officials pledging not to cooperate with ICE in handing over illegal aliens in state custody,” Malloy wrote. “Maybe he just thought it was a nice place to live. There are possibly hundreds, maybe thousands like Rios, who've been deported and have criminal records, that feel New Jersey is a safe place to hide in plain sight.”
“What happened to Ms. Cano was horrific, despicable and totally preventable,” Malloy added. “One of the few and more important responsibilities of our elected officials both state and federal is to maintain the safety of its citizens.”