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DHS Cancels Deportation Request For Illegal Immigrant Hit-And-Run Driver Who Killed Teenager

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reportedly dropped its deportation request for Heriberto Fuerte-Padilla, an illegal immigrant who smashed his car into the car of a Texas teenager, killing her and fleeing the scene. Fuerte-Padilla was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the hit-and-run crash.

Police quickly caught and arrested Fuerte-Padilla, and DHS initially said it wanted him deported after Texas punished him for the death of the Texas teenager, but the Department has since changed its mind, The Washington Times reported.

“Under rules issued in September by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Fuerte-Padilla doesn’t qualify as a priority anymore,” the outlet reported. “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] also told Texas that it was canceling deportation requests — known as ‘detainers’ — on other illegal immigrants, including some who pleaded guilty to felony charges of evading arrest or had convictions for drunken driving, drug possession or domestic assault injuring a family member.”

The rules were supposed to direct resources to focus on dangerous targets over those with minor criminal records, but it now appears the only people deemed dangerous enough to be deported are those who pose a national security risk, recently crossed the border illegally, or are a public safety risk. Though most would agree Fuerte-Padilla is a public safety risk, Mayorkas’ rules require ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to weigh criminal convictions against other factors, including how long the illegal immigrant has been in the U.S., how long ago they were convicted of the crime, and whether the families of the illegal immigrant would suffer due to detention or deportation.

“The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen therefore should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them,” Mayorkas told ICE and CBP. “We will use our discretion and focus our enforcement resources in a more targeted way. Justice and our country’s well-being require it.”

ICE reportedly told Texas that the previous detainers had been canceled as “priority lifts” and were no longer important targets due to the new rules issued by Mayorkas.

Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Times: “Here we have a law enforcement agency handing ICE a criminal alien on a silver platter and ICE saying no thank you, and then the law enforcement agency saying really? And ICE saying no, we really don’t want to take this person.”

The outlet noted that the cases “were revealed in documents filed in federal court in Texas, where Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry are challenging Mr. Mayorkas’ rules.” Each state told the court they have many more examples of similarly canceled detainers that they plan to introduce as the case continues. The case is slated for trial in late February.

Arizona, Montana, and Ohio are also challenging Mayorkas’ rules in a separate case. A hearing for that case is scheduled for the middle of February and will be heard by a federal judge in Ohio.

Vaughn told the Times that “What could really sink the administration’s case on this is the fact that they have gone so far in slashing deportations that they’ve crossed whatever gray line there might have been between their need to exercise discretion because of resource limits, and willfully not enforcing the law.”

As The Daily Wire reported, leaked audio shows Mayorkas admitting that the border crisis is “worse now” than it has been “in at least 20 years, if not ever.”

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