Unfortunately, anyone who follows immigration closely saw this one coming from a mile away.
A semi-truck and a small pickup truck collided last week, causing the semi to burst into flames on Denver’s busy Interstate 70. The crash killed the 57-year-old driver of the semi, John Anderson, who was trapped inside his truck as it burned. The driver of the pickup truck, an illegal alien, immediately fled the scene of the crime.
Twenty-six year-old Ivan Zamarripa-Castaneda (Castaneda), was eventually found and arrested by the Denver Police Department. He was charged with vehicular homicide, driving under the Influence, and felony hit and run. A state court ordered him held on $25,000 bail.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immediately issued a detainer request to the Denver Sheriff’s Department, despite the fact that the Department’s sanctuary policies have prevented cooperation with ICE detainers since 2014. The Sheriff’s Department insisted that it would only respect the detainer request if a federal judicial warrant was issued, something that is not required for ICE to arrest an illegal alien. A spokesperson commented that ICE arrests and places detainer requests on “thousands and thousands” of people a day, and obtaining a federal warrant for each and every one of them would be “extremely time-consuming” and beyond the agency’s resource constraints.
Castaneda quickly made bail and was released by the Sheriff’s Department one hour before ICE was notified. That incredibly short notice ensured that immigration agents couldn’t get their hands on Castaneda and place him in deportation proceedings. He has since disappeared. (As Gomer Pyle would say: “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”)
How many times must law-abiding members of our communities be killed before we finally learn our lesson? This case is eerily similar to the tragedy of 21-year-old Sarah Root, the Omaha, Nebraska woman who was killed just days after graduating from college by an illegal alien drunk driver. He also was released on bond after being arrested. He also fled, never to be seen again.
While it won’t have any immediate impact on the abhorrent conduct of the Denver Sheriff’s Department in its handling of illegal alien detainers, a recent ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will make a big difference elsewhere. The court has found that states have the power to force local police and sheriff’s departments to cooperate in turning over illegal immigrants to the federal government for deportation. While the decision only applies to the Fifth Circuit, it could eventually have national ramifications.
But until it does, we must all face the fact that, in some jurisdictions, the authorities seem to have more empathy for criminal aliens that legal residents, and are more interested in shielding illegal alien criminals than protecting the rest of us.