Grassley: Communication breakdowns may have led to renewed deferred deportation for rapist

Grassley-090507-18363- 0032From Press Release


Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is investigating claims that failures by immigration agencies allowed a convicted statutory rapist to remain in the United States and receive immigration benefits, even while serving a two-year prison sentence.  Whistleblowers allege that Abarca Torres Alvaro, who had received deferred deportation under the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive action, was ordered to be removed from the country following his conviction of statutory rape in 2013.  However, a lack of communication between Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and local law enforcement not only prevented Torres’ removal, but also allowed him to receive notices to renew his DACA status after serving two years in prison.

According to information provided to the Committee, Torres was charged with statutory rape in February of 2013 and granted DACA in April of 2013.  He was convicted in October of that year and sentenced to two years in prison. Immigration and Customs Enforcement allegedly served Torres with a Notice of Intent to Issue a Final Administrative Deportation Order, which should have voided his DACA benefits. However, when Torres was released from prison last year, he was not apprehended by law enforcement for removal.  Evidence obtained by the Committee indicates that Immigration and Customs Enforcement never informed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the notice to initiate a removal following his sentence. Torres was allegedly sent a DACA renewal notice in early 2015.

“The growing number of allegations relating to failed collaboration between ICE and USCIS raise several public safety concerns with the DACA program’s administration,” Grassley said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. “This recent example once again highlights the inability of the Department of Homeland Security components to properly communicate and coordinate…”

Grassley recently began investigating claims that DACA recipients who either were under investigation by immigration officials or should have been deported are now charged with child abuse or murder. In response following these inquiries, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services admitted that it erred in granting DACA to the man charged with murder, but failed to clearly explain where the breakdown occurred, and did not provide the man’s immigration file as was requested by the Committee.

A signed copy of Grassley’s letter is available here.