Grassley has questions for DHS regarding camp counselor charged with child molestation

Chuck Grassley Weekly Address 4From Press Release


Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa is asking how much the Department of Homeland Security knew about a camp counselor who allegedly was granted deferred deportation action under the President’s immigration executive order, and who is now charged with four felonies, including child molestation and possession and distribution of more than 600 pornographic images of children. According to whistleblowers, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was aware in November of 2014 that Edgar Covarrubias-Padilla was a part of an ongoing investigation for exploiting children and distributing child porn, but he was not arrested until May 7.

“These allegations are deeply troubling because, if true, they suggest that DHS was aware for months or years that Mr. Covarrubias-Padilla posed a public safety threat to the children he was monitoring, yet took no action to revoke his DACA authorization,” Grassley said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson requesting details of the case.

A number of recent cases involving recipients of deferred action who were subsequently charged with serious crimes have raised questions about how applicants are vetted.  Grassley sought an explanation of how immigration officials handle applications for deferred action from criminals after a known gang member who received deferred action was charged with four counts of murder. Immigration officials admitted that relief from deportation in this case was granted in error. At a recent hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sec. Johnson acknowledged that lapses in background checks led to relief from deportation for criminals.  At least 282 similar cases have occurred since Fiscal Year 2013, suggesting systemic failures in the background check procedure.

The Covarrubias-Padilla case raises more questions about how the Department of Homeland Security addresses cases involving alleged criminal activity that occurs after a deferred action application is approved.  A signed copy of the letter can be found here.