A criminal alien from Guatemala, previously arrested for assault and burglary in Colorado, was released earlier this month by the Denver Justice Center despite an immigration detainer lodged against him by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Not long after his release, the illegal alien allegedly attacked a woman on a hiking trail in the Denver area. The suspect is now back in jail facing a new charge of assault with a deadly weapon.
Julio Andres Gonzalez-Palacios has racked up several convictions in the Denver area since 2017, including convictions of theft, assault, trespassing and failure to appear, according to ICE. But sanctuary laws like the one passed in Colorado in 2019 prevent law enforcement officers from arresting and detaining an individual based solely on a civil immigration detainer, no matter what criminal charge or convictions the individual may have on his or her record.
"ICE lodges detainers on individuals who have been arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens," ICE said in a press release. "The detainer asks the other law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of release and to maintain custody of the alien for a brief period of time so that ICE can take custody of that person in a safe and secure setting upon release from that agency’s custody. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission."
Gonzalez-Palacios failed to depart the U.S. in accordance with his terms of admission. The Guatemalan was admitted to the U.S. through Orlando, Florida, as a nonimmigrant visitor with permission to remain until June 3, 2017. According to ICE, the agency's enforcements are focused on those convicted of crimes, those who have pending charges, those who illegally re-entered the U.S. after being removed and immigration fugitives subject to a final order of removal by judge.