The immigration debate returned to Montgomery County after an undocumented immigrant named Mario Granados-Alvarado was arrested at Albert Einstein High School for bringing a stolen police rifle onto school property.
Mario Granados-Alvarado, an El Salvadorean immigrant who is in the United States illegally, was originally stopped by police for driving a stolen vehicle. After officers searched the car, they discovered an AR-15 rifle and shotgun that were previously stolen out of an officer's cruiser. They arrested Alvarado on the spot.
When police ran Mario Granados-Alvarado's name and fingerprints, they discovered that he has an active deportation order against him. Alvarado was apprehended by Border Patrol agents in 2014 and released with an order to appear before an immigration judge. When he didn't show up to his hearing, he was ordered
removed from the country.
When Montgomery County Police ran Alvarado's details through the database, it alerted Immigration and Customs Enforcement that he had been picked up. ICE agents requested that Alvarado be held to give Federal agents enough time to take him into custody. Instead of complying with the detainer request, Mario Alvarado was released from jail on $2,000 bond.
Opponents of illegal immigration argue that this is exactly what is wrong with "sanctuary cities." Because Mario had already ignored an order to appear before an immigration judge, they argue that bail never should have been offered. Someone in the country illegally with an active deportation order who steals firearms from a police car and brings them to school should not be released from jail.
Supporters of sanctuary city policies argue that by refusing to cooperate with immigration investigations, local police are able to foster a better relationship with the Hispanic community.
Shortly after Mario Granados-Alvarado was released from jail, ICE agents were able to make an arrest and take him into Federal custody. He is currently being held while his deportation is arranged.
An ICE spokesperson criticized Montgomery County for being a "jurisdiction that has publicly limited cooperation with ICE and frequently ignores legally authorized detainers."
“Keeping people safe means not tolerating the release of aliens that present a clear public safety threat back into our communities,” ICE Field Office Director Dorothy Herrara-Niles wrote in a press release.
Just days later, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh sent a memo
to local and state law enforcement agencies instructing them to reject ICE immigration detainer requests unless there is an accompanying warrant or probable cause to keep the suspect behind bars.
ICE argues that such a policy puts their agents unnecessarily in harm's way. It is much safer to make an arrest and transfer custody in secure facilities like jails or courthouses than it is for Federal agents to seek the suspects out at their homes.
What do you think? Was it right to release Mario Granados-Alvarado on bail or should he have stayed behind bars for bringing stolen police guns to school? Let us know in the comments below.