Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers were able to arrest a member of a dangerous narco-terrorist organization, known as MS-13, despite his release from custody by New York City. ICE had submitted a detainer in the case of Estivan Rafael Marques Velasquez, which is a request to the local authorities to hold an illegal alien long enough for immigration authorities to take into custody. New York City is among the jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in detaining persons wanted for immigration violations.
 
Marques Velasquez has a history of committing crimes in the United States, including reckless endangerment in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, and disorderly conduct. In a press release, ICE contended that the Salvadoran national was released on February 16 despite an active detainer request that was filed by ICE on May 3, 2016. Marques Velasquez had entered the US illegally. On July 28, 2014, he was issued a Notice to Appear before ICE. Then, in November 2015, he was ordered removed by an immigration judge.
 
ICE officers arrested Marques Velasquez on Feb. 16 in Queens, New York, to process for deportation. He is now waiting for deportation.
 
Speaking for ICE, Thomas R. Decker said, "This man is by his own admission a member of a violent street gang and he was released back into the community. Honoring a detainer request is not about politics, it is about keeping New York citizens safe.”  Decker added, “ICE continues to welcome changes to the city’s current policy which is creating a potentially unsafe environment for its residents. ICE remains steadfast in solidifying its relationship with local law enforcement in the interest of public safety and national security.”
 
According to ICE, the agency removed or returned 240,255 individuals in fiscal year 2016. Of this total, 174,923 were apprehended while, or shortly after, attempting to illegally enter the United States. The remaining 65,332 were apprehended in the interior of the United States, and the vast majority were convicted criminals. 
 
MS-13, which is also known as Mara Salvatrucha, had its origins among criminals in the Latino community in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in 1980s and who were repatriated to the countries of Central America. It has since operated in concert with Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, sex trafficking, smuggling, murder for hire, and human trafficking. 


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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