Immigrant fugitives wanted on murder, violent charges found in NJ
NEWARK — Immigration authorities recently deported two men from New Jersey who had been wanted in their home countries on charges of violent crimes. In both cases, the men previously had been arrested at the border and one had been deported before he re-entered the country illegally, officials said.
ICE announced the arrests and deportations on Tuesday, a day after New Jersey's sanctuary state rules went into effect. The new policy limits law enforcement cooperation with immigration authorities on civil matters. The state Attorney General's Office has said that the new policy, which is aimed at making those who may be living in the country illegally comfortable with cooperating with police and criminal justice system, does not prevent police from cooperating with the feds on criminal cases.
Yermin Alexander Diaz-Chavarria, a Salvadoran national wanted on charges of aggravated murder and affiliation with criminal organizations, was arrested on Feb. 11 in Newark, ICE said. He was deported on March 8 and turned over to Salvadoran authorities.
Diaz-Chavarria had previously been arrested in Texas by the U.S. Border Patrol in August 2015 on charges of entering the country illegally. Officials said he missed a Feb. 13, 2018, immigration court hearing and a judge ordered his deportation. Salvadoran officials charged him with murder in 2017.
Jose Bernardo Siquin-Tubac, a Guatemalan national wanted in that country on charges of domestic violence, was arrested on Feb. 13 at his home in West New York and deported on March 14, ICE officials said.
He had previously been arrested by Border Patrol in Texas in November 2014 and was deported. ICE is not sure when he re-entered the country illegally.
State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, R-Morris, said the arrests show that “illegals that commit horrendous crimes are finding refuge in New Jersey."
"The recent implementation of Attorney General’s ‘sanctuary state’ directive is putting New Jersey communities at risk and it is putting our families in danger. We must fight back," he said Wednesday. "The Attorney General’s new policies allow criminals who commit dangerous crimes in other countries to hide in plain sight."
Pennacchio has introduced legislation that would require immigrants who have been convicted of or are facing sex crimes in another country to be registered under Megan's Law when they are arrested in New Jersey. The proposal also would require police to cooperate with federal authorities when they are unable to confirm the immigration status of a convicted sex offender.
The state's new directive, known as the Immigrant Trust Directive, prohibits law enforcement in the state from doing the following:
- Stop, question, arrest, search, or detain any individual based solely on actual or suspected immigration status;
- Ask the immigration status of any individual, unless doing so is necessary to the ongoing investigation of a serious offense and relevant to the offense under investigation;
- Participate in civil immigration enforcement operations conducted by ICE;
- Provide ICE with access to state or local law enforcement resources, including equipment, office space, databases, or property, unless those resources are readily available to the public;
- Allow ICE to interview an individual arrested on a criminal charge unless that person is advised of his or her right to a lawyer.
The directive does not prevent officers from assisting federal immigration authorities in response to emergency circumstances.
The directive does not prevent officers from participating in joint law enforcement task forces that are not primarily related to civil immigration enforcement.
And the directive does not prevent officers from requesting proof of identity during the course of an arrest or when legally justified during an investigative stop or detention.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.