A Mexican man accused of raping a 13-year-old on a Greyhound bus had been removed from the United States a mind-boggling 19 times since 2003. Tomas Martinez-Maldonado had been deported 10 times and was voluntarily removed from the country an additional nine times before being charged with rape this past fall. He is currently being held at the Geary County Jail in Junction City, Kansas, awaiting a hearing on January 10.
Members of Congress have written to the Department of Homeland Security looking for immigration records for Martinez-Maldonado. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) called the case "disturbing." ICE has placed a detainer on Martinez-Maldonado.
Three U.S. Republican senators — including Kansas' Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts — demanded this month that the Department of Homeland Security provide immigration records for 38-year-old Tomas Martinez-Maldonado, who is charged with a felony in the alleged Sept. 27 attack aboard a bus in Geary County. He is being held in the Geary County jail in Junction City, which is about 120 miles west of Kansas City.
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, from Iowa and chairman of the judiciary committee, co-signed a Dec. 9 letter with Moran and Roberts to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, calling it "an extremely disturbing case" and questioning how Martinez-Maldonado was able to re-enter and remain in the country.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it has placed a detainer — a request to turn Martinez-Maldonado over to ICE custody before he is released — with Geary County. ICE declined to discuss his specific case beyond its October statement regarding the 10 deportations.
Court filings show Martinez-Maldonado has two misdemeanor convictions for entering without legal permission in cases prosecuted in 2013 and 2015 in U.S. District Court of Arizona, where he was sentenced to serve 60 days and 165 days respectively.
The majority of Martinez-Maldonado's family resides in Mexico, but others live in the United States.
This, of course, begs the question: How many times must a person be caught illegally in this country before they're charged with a felony? Nineteen times is pure insanity, and in no way should Martinez-Maldonado been free to roam around the country. A young teen's life will never be the same because the immigration system in this country is broken. And that's a damn shame.