AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are criticizing a new sanctuary law in Colorado after an undocumented immigrant was released from jail and later arrested and charged with attempted murder. The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office tells CBS4 they notified ICE before Osmani Garces-Ortiz, 37, was released from custody.
In October, Garces-Ortiz was released on bond from the Arapahoe County Jail. He was arrested in September and charged with felony trespassing, violation of a bail bond, felony possession of a controlled substance and violating a protection order. ICE also issued a detainer for Garces-Ortiz, which is a written request for law enforcement agencies to notify ICE before an inmate is released. Detainers also request that jails hold an inmate up to 48 hours beyond their scheduled release.
Colorado House Bill 1124 went into effect in May and prohibits law enforcement agencies from holding an inmate solely on the basis of an ICE detainer. The jail can notify ICE that the inmate is about to be released, but they are not required to do so.
Under the new law, jail officials are not allowed to facilitate the transfer of an inmate into ICE custody. In many cases, ICE officials will wait in the jail lobby until the inmate is released.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office enacted a policy in 2014 to notify ICE before an inmate with a detainer is released. Officials with the sheriff’s office told CBS4 they sent an email to ICE nearly three hours before Garces-Ortiz was released on bond. A spokesperson for ICE told CBS4 the email did not specify when Garces-Ortiz would be released.
The Aurora Police Department arrested Garces-Ortiz on Nov. 21 for attempted murder, assault and violation of a bail bond, among other charges. According to court documents, the victim told investigators he had been assaulted by Garces-Ortiz, who is his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend.
Garces-Ortiz was denied U.S. permanent residence status in 2015 due to his criminal history. In a press release, ICE officials said the new sanctuary policies in Colorado put public safety at risk.
“It was absolutely predictable that innocent residents would suffer at the hands of criminal aliens when Colorado’s heinous sanctuary bill was signed into law,” said John Fabbricatore, deputy field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in Denver. “How many more lives will be lost, and how many more crimes will be committed, because lawmakers put political agendas before public safety?”
Opponents of ICE detainers argue they are not supported by probable cause and violate a person’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. ICE argues that when law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety.