OKLAHOMA CITY – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested Antonio Ulises Perez, a 38-year-old illegal alien from El Salvador accused of rape, Wednesday, after the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) failed to honor an ICE detainer and released him from custody, the agency says.
Almost immediately following his release from the Oklahoma County Jail on Oct. 9, Ulises Perez went to the home of the woman he is alleged to have raped. The victim contacted the police and Ulises Perez fled the scene.
Under federal law, ICE has the authority to lodge immigration detainers with law enforcement agencies who have custody of individuals arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens. The detainer form advises law enforcement agencies to notify ICE in advance of release and to maintain custody of the alien for up to 48 hours so that ICE can take custody of that person in a safe and secure setting.
Under this authority, ICE lodged an immigration detainer with the OCSO on Oct. 8 requesting that they transfer custody of Ulises Perez to ICE in the event that he was scheduled to be released from OCSO custody. However, OCSO released Ulises Perez around 3 a.m. on Oct. 9, about an hour after notifying ICE, that he was scheduled to be released preventing deportation officers any reasonable opportunity to take custody.
This is not an isolated event, according to ICE. Over the past few months ago, Oklahoma County has routinely failed to honor ICE detainers by releasing criminal aliens back into the local community before ICE has the opportunity to take custody.
The sheriff disputes the claims by ICE:
“It is unconscionable that someone who is sworn to uphold the law would find it acceptable to release an alleged rapist who is illegally present in the U.S. back into the community when there are other options available under federal immigration law,” said Marc Moore, field office director for ICE Dallas. “Within a few hours of being released, this illegal alien was back at the home of the rape victim where he was free to re-victimize her and harm other members of the community. Fortunately, ICE deportation officers were able to quickly locate this individual and safely take him back into custody.”
On Sept. 30, Ulises Perez was arrested by the Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD) on suspicion of rape. On Oct. 8, ICE interviewed Perez in person, and lodged an immigration detainer with the OCSO, advising them to transfer custody of Ulises Perez to ICE in the event that he was scheduled to be released from local custody. Pending further investigation, OCPD was unable to continue to detain this individual and processed him for release. On Oct. 9 at approximately 3 a.m., the active detainer was not honored, and the OCSO released Ulises Perez from the Oklahoma County Jail. On Oct. 9, ICE deportation officers arrested Ulises Perez in Oklahoma City. He remains in ICE custody pending disposition of his immigration proceedings.
ICE is focused on removing public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges. Nationally, approximately 90 percent of all people arrested by ICE during fiscal year 2019 either had a criminal conviction, a pending criminal charge, had illegally re-entered the United States after being previously removed (a federal felony), or were an immigration fugitive subject to a final order of removal.
Approximately 70 percent of the arrests ICE makes happen after ICE is notified about an alien being released from local jails or state prisons. In fiscal year 2019, ICE has lodged more than 160,000 detainers with local law enforcement agencies.