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A group of Tennessee Republican lawmakers pushed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday to explain how an illegal immigrant accused of raping multiple children was allowed to stay in the U.S. for two decades.
The Republicans, led by Sen. Marsha Blackburn, wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas accusing his agency of failing to enforce American immigration laws and contributing to the alleged crimes.
“We write to express our disgust with this administration’s complete failure to secure our border and enforce the rule of law, the effects of which are impacting communities and families across the country,” the letter says.
Blackburn was joined by Reps. Diana Harshbarger, Tim Burchett, Chuck Fleischmann, Scott DesJarlais, Andy Ogles, Mark Green, and John Rose.
The letter referred to the case of Camilo Hurtado Campos, a youth soccer coach and illegal immigrant living in Franklin, Tennessee. Police say they found “disturbing videos and pictures” on documenting the “rapes of at least 10 children” ages 9 to 17 on Campos phone, which he accidentally left at a restaurant, according to The Tennessean.
“We fear that, in addition to very recent victims, there could be a decade or more of victims out there,” Franklin Police Department Lt. Charles Warner said last week. More people have since stepped forward and said they were victimized by Campos, who is being held in custody on charges of child rape and sexual exploitation of a minor.
“Perhaps most devastating of all, this horrific abuse was entirely preventable — police confirmed on July 12 that Campos is an illegal immigrant who should not have been in our country in the first place,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter on Monday. “Indeed, if this administration had any interest in enforcing our nation’s laws, he wouldn’t have been.”
Campos had been in trouble with the police before, according to the letter. He had been cited for public intoxication and three instances of driving without a license. Despite his run-ins with law enforcement, police said Campos has lived in the Franklin area for about two decades through multiple administrations.
The lawmakers requested more information from the DHS on Campos’s case, including whether the department was aware of Campos and his immigration status as well as whether the department ever initiated any enforcement actions against him. The GOP letter asks for a response from the secretary by July 24.
“Violence against children is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, and Tennesseans deserve to know why the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permitted this criminal to live in their community and abuse their children after entering the country illegally,” the letter says.
Mayorkas has received an intense criticism from Republicans for his handling of the U.S. southern border crisis, punctuated by a peak of roughly 10,000 apprehensions a day for a period of time in May. Some members have even pushed for Mayorkas to be impeached.