“How many Americans must die at the hands of unlawful criminal immigrants before the Obama Administration takes a serious look at the failure of its own policies?” House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) asked Friday.
The congressman’s statement comes after reports that Victor Aureliano Martinez Ramirez, an illegal immigrant, allegedly raped, tortured, and murdered 64-year-old Marilyn Pharis in late July.
According to news articles, Martinez has been in the United States illegally since at least 2009, and has avoided deportation because of local, state and federal policies that provide sanctuary to unlawful and even criminal immigrants. After a 2014 arrest for battery and possession of methamphetamine, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lodged a detainer against Ramirez. But the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office refused to honor the detainer. According to the Santa Maria Police Chief, Ramirez has been arrested six times in just the last 15 months, most recently a mere eight days before Pharis’ murder. But because the Obama Administration’s removal priorities changed in late 2014, and ICE determined that Ramirez’s “case history showed he had no prior deportations or felony criminal convictions,” he was not deemed an enforcement priority under the changed removal priorities and ICE refused, this time, to lodge a detainer. Ramirez was simply released onto the streets of Santa Maria, free to murder Marilyn Pharis.
“The Obama Administration’s callous disregard for our nation’s immigration laws has spiraled into a public safety crisis that has manifested itself in the heinous murder of another innocent woman, this time a veteran of the United States Air Force,” Goodlatte’s statement continued.
“The Obama Administration should be leading the way in immigration enforcement so states and localities can no longer ignore federal law and enact dangerous sanctuary policies. Instead, this Administration’s misguided policy that only certain criminal convictions should render an unlawful immigrant a “priority” for removal – leads to countless crimes inflicted on Americans and legal immigrants,” he continued.
As Townhall previously reported, Santa Maria police chief Ralph Martin wasn't remiss to place the blame squarely on Washington.
“Two weeks before this murder Santa Maria Police officers arrested him for possession of meth,” he said at a press conference last week. “You know what we had to do? We had to cite him out. That’s the problem with this system, this is not just in Santa Maria, this is all over the state of California and all over the United States. . . . from Washington, D.C., to Sacramento there’s a blood trail leading to the bedroom of Marilyn Pharis.”