Immigration officials have placed a 19-year-old Honduran who entered the United States as part of the so-called border surge of 2014 on its Most Wanted list for disappearing while out on bail on charges of killing a Nebraska woman while driving drunk.
But Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) says the action by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is too little, too late.
On his website Sasse said that Edwin Mejia, whose whereabouts are unknown and also goes by the name Eswin, should never have been released after he killed 21-year-old Sarah Root in January while he driving drunk at a high speed. Root had graduated from college just hours before the fatal accident.
The senator sent a letter to ICE director Sarah Saldana on Feb. 29 asking why Mejia had been allowed to post bail despite being in the country illegally and being charged in Root’s death.
Mejia was released after agreeing to a court's requirement that he show up twice a day for Breathalyzer testing. He has failed to show up for the testing and hasn't been seen since he was released, according to the Omaha Herald.
In cases where a person who is in the country unlawfully is arrested, ICE usually has the option of placing a detainer on the immigrant, which allows local law enforcement to hold the person until immigration authorities pick him or her up and place them in deportation proceedings.
ICE declined to place a detainer on Mejia, who first settled in Tennessee before ending up in Nebraska.
Sasse said that the Douglas County Police Department asked ICE numerous times about placing a detainer on Mejia, who had skipped a court hearing another time on charges of drunk driving and had a warrant for his arrest. But according to Sasse’s website, ICE rejected the requests.
ICE spokesman Shawn Neudauer told Breitbart News that Mejia’s crimes “did not meet ICE’s enforcement priorities.”
Recently, ICE placed Mejia on the agency's Most Wanted list.
"This important development underscores the seriousness of the situation, something ICE should have recognized immediately,” Sasse said in the statement on his website. “Mr. Mejia should not need to be on this list — he should be in jail.”
“ICE originally said that Mr. Mejia was not an 'enforcement priority' but this morning he was placed on their Most Wanted list,” Sasse said. “The public still does not have a complete account of what went wrong. It is well past time for ICE to make all the facts known so this never happens again."
“If this man is not a threat to public safety, then who is?”
In a written response to Sasse, Saldana said: “After further review, we believe that further enforcement action would have served an important federal interest in this case.”
Sasse called the response “bureaucratic nonsense,” according to the Herald.