The Middlesex County Department of Corrections released Luis Rodrigo Perez from custody last February, in defiance of an Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) detainer issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in December.
Perez, 23, shot and killed three people in Springfield, Missouri last week, according to Missouri law enforcement authorities.
“Yet again, an ICE detainer was ignored and a dangerous criminal alien was released to the streets and is now charged with killing three people,” said ICE Acting Executive Associate Director Corey Price. “Had ICE’s detainer request in December 2017 been honored by Middlesex County Jail, Luis Rodrigo Perez would have been placed in deportation proceedings and likely sent home to his country – and three innocent people might be alive today. It is past time that localities realize the perils of dangerous sanctuary policies and resume their primary goal of protecting their residents.”
Perez was being held in the Middlesex County Jain on domestic violence charges. Unnamed Middlesex County officials are quoted by NJ.com blaming ICE for Perez’s release, explaining that their policy is not to hold illegals who haven’t killed or maimed anyone yet.
Middlesex County officials followed up with a statement Friday night addressing Perez’s case. ICE was told on Dec. 14 of last year that the county would not honor a detainer requested that day, because Perez had no first- or second-degree convictions.
Perez was in custody for 51 days after that, and ICE did not request a deportation order from a federal judge, which would have compelled the county to turn him over to the agency.
“Instead, ICE officials chose to do nothing, which places all responsibility of Mr. Perez’s actions squarely upon ICE.”
According to published reports Perez shot and killed two former roommates with a stolen gun on November 1. The following day, Perez shot and killed Sabrina Starr, the woman who gave him the stolen gun in exchange for a tattoo that reads, “Kill or be killed,” who was the girlfriend on one of the men Perez killed on the 1st.
“This tragedy might have been avoided had it not been for the reckless policy required of the Middlesex County Jail by their county officials,” said John Tsoukaris, Field Office Director of ERO Newark. “Despite such policies, ICE ERO will continue to enforce federal immigration law and prioritize public safety in the community.”
“We have tried unsuccessfully to work with Middlesex County Jail in the interest of public safety to accept detainers and to contact ICE prior to releasing criminals,” Tsoukaris continued. “There have been other cases where ICE detainers were not honored and those released went on to commit serious crimes. In this most recent case, Perez had a violent history, but despite that, the detainer was not honored. We hope that this tragic turn of events forces Middlesex to reconsider its policy and that the local elected officials stop protecting criminal aliens.”