NEW YORK – A 20-year-old Guatemalan national illegally present in the U.S. was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers March 2. ERO had previously lodged an immigration detainer with the New York City Department of Corrections (NYCDOC) following his arrest for sexual offenses in Brooklyn.
Miguel Federico Ajqui-Ajtzalam was arrested by the NYPD Feb. 27, on the charges of felony rape in the 2nd, sexual abuse in the 2nd for sexual contact with a person less than 14 yrs., and act in manner to injure a child less than 17 yrs. ERO officers assigned to ERO New York’s Criminal Alien Program lodged a detainer with the NYCDOC. As a result of New York City’s sanctuary policies, Ajqui-Ajtzalam was subsequently arraigned and released from the custody of the NYCDOC without the detainer being honored.
“It’s inconceivable that a individual who was arrested for local charges of rape and sexual abuse of a child, would be released back into the community instead of being transferred to ICE who had a detainer in place. It’s frightening that our detainer was ignored and he was released onto New York City streets to possibly re-offend,” said Thomas R. Decker, field office director for ERO New York. “The safety of city residents, especially the more vulnerable, continues to be a priority for ICE enforcement.”
Ajqui-Ajtzalam was initially encountered by U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) on Sept. 23, 2016 after illegally entering the U.S. without inspection. Ajqui-Ajtzalam was processed as an unaccompanied alien child (UAC), issued a Notice to Appear, and was released from ICE custody on Nov. 4, 2016 on an Order of Recognizance (OREC) pending removal proceedings.
On March 2, ERO officers arrested Ajqui-Ajtzalam in Brooklyn, New York. He is currently detained in ICE custody pending removal proceedings before a federal immigration judge.
ICE removed or returned 267,000 aliens in fiscal year 2019. ERO arrested 143,000 aliens, more than 86 percent of whom had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges.