U.S. Attorney blasts Philadelphia’s ‘sanctuary’ policy in child rape case

by WorldTribune Staff, February 28, 2019

A U.S. Attorney blasted “sanctuary city” policies in the case of an illegal immigrant who raped a 5-year-old girl after Philadelphia ignored an ICE detainer and released him.

After being deported to his native Honduras in 2009, Juan Ramon-Vasquez was found back in the United States in 2014 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers while in the custody of the Philadelphia Department of Prisons.

Juan Ramon-Vasquez

Ramon-Vasquez, 51, was released from custody despite an ICE detainer. He then repeatedly sexually assaulted his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter, according to Philly.com.

On Feb. 26, Ramon-Vasquez was sentenced to 21 months in prison for illegally re-entering the United States. He had already been serving 8 to 20 years in state prison for sexual assault.

A judge ruled that Ramon-Vasquez will serve his sentences for illegal re-entry and sexual assault consecutively.

“The facts of this case illustrate all too well the direct threat to public safety caused by the City of Philadelphia’s sanctuary city policies,” U.S. Attorney William McSwain said in a news release.  “After the city let this criminal loose on the streets of Philadelphia, Ramon-Vasquez repeatedly raped an innocent child.

Philadelphia’s mayor danced to celebrate court’s ruling.

“If the ICE detainer had been honored by local law enforcement, this crime never would have happened, and the victim would have been spared horrendous physical and mental trauma,” McSwain said. “Criminals like Ramon-Vasquez take note: My office will do everything in its power to find you, to protect our community, and to seek justice for your victims. Unlike the Philadelphia government, we are not on your side.”

Mike Dunn, a spokesman for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, said that a warrant signed by a judge is the needed documentation to hold someone in jail – not an ICE detainer. The Obama administration did not obtain an arrest warrant for Vasquez in 2014, Dunn said.

“If they had done so, the individual would have been released into their custody,” Dunn said in a statement. “We simply request that ICE obtain a warrant to ensure compliance with the United States Constitution. This request is not burdensome.”

Kenney was highly criticized in June 2018 after a Twitter video emerged showing the Philadelphia mayor dancing in celebration after a federal court judge ruled the Trump administration couldn’t withhold some $1.6 million in law enforcement grants to Philadelphia because of the city’s status as a sanctuary city.

“We are a sanctuary city yeah,” the mayor sang as he danced and high-fived Jane Slusser, his chief of staff, in a video posted on Twitter by a mayoral aide.

Kenney hailed the ruling as a “total and complete victory” that “prevents a White House run by a bully from bullying Philadelphia into changing its policies.”

“It is a ruling that should make clear to Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions that federal grant dollars cannot be used for a political shakedown,” the mayor said. “It is, most of all, a ruling that reminds everyone of why this city and this county exist – to give safe haven, and hope, to those who flee tyranny, oppression and poverty in other parts of the world.”

The White House had a different reaction to the judge’s decision.

“Many people in Philadelphia have been killed, raped or assaulted at the hands of criminal illegal aliens,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told Fox News. Gidley went on to describe the mayor’s singing and dancing act as “disgusting.”

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