Update: On Friday, ICE Denver issued the following correction to its original statement:
Due to new information brought to light, we have made a minor correction to our news release issued Nov. 27. We have removed any mention of a notification being made to ICE.
Although ICE may have been notified that Garces was scheduled for release, Arapahoe County, along with every jail in the state, may not hold onto a criminal alien to ensure the inmate is delivered in a controlled manner to honor a detainer. A notification that an alien is about to be released to the lobby is not a functional way to ensure transfer of custody. Arapahoe County did follow state law.
A note on warrants: There is no authority or legal mechanism for a judge or magistrate to issue a criminal warrant for an administrative immigration arrest. Sanctuary policies fail to recognize federal jurisdiction to enforce immigration law, as mandated by Congress.
ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. - A man who is allegedly in the country illegally and facing attempted murder charges is at the center of a debate between Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office.
The issue is about how and why 37-year-old Osmani Garces-Ortiz was released from jail and not detained by ICE agents.
In October, Garces-Ortiz was arrested on trespassing and drug charges and booked into the Arapahoe County Detention Facility.
ICE said it asked the sheriff's office for a detainer on Garces-Ortiz after he posted bond. But the office's policy is to not hold inmates for extra time, unless ICE has a warrant, which follows a state law.
Less than a month after being released, Garces-Ortiz was arrested on an attempted murder charge.
“Because of this law, our ICE office was not notified when a criminal alien was released on bail, and this alien is now charged with attempted murder. How many more terrible crimes will be committed, because lawmakers put political agendas before public safety?” said ICE's deputy field office director John Fabbricatore.
But the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office disagrees and said ICE had the facts wrong.
Instead, the sheriff's office told FOX31 it followed protocol and emailed ICE more than two hours hours before Garces-Ortiz was to be released from jail. ICE has a facility two miles away from the jail, but no agents went to the jail lobby to detain him or ever responded to the email.
Below are statements from both ICE and the sheriff's office.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Denver:
“It was absolutely predictable that innocent residents would suffer at the hands of criminal aliens when Colorado’s heinous sanctuary bill was signed into law,” said John Fabbricatore, deputy field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in Denver. “Because of this law, our ICE office was not notified when a criminal alien was released on bail, and this alien is now charged with attempted murder. How many more terrible crimes will be committed, because lawmakers put political agendas before public safety?”
Colorado’s recently enacted sanctuary law prohibits state-based law enforcement officers or probation officers from arresting or detaining criminal aliens solely on the basis of an immigration detainer. Now local law enforcement jurisdictions must release aliens with criminal convictions and/or criminal charges without notifying ICE. This law endangers the safety of all Colorado citizens. Aliens convicted of serious crimes — even those charged and convicted of murder — now must be released to the streets without notifying ICE so they can continue to prey on the public in Colorado communities or elsewhere.
This law undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission. As ICE has repeatedly made clear, when local jurisdictions refuse to support immigration enforcement, they betray their duty to protect public safety."
Chief Vince Lane, Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office:
"Some critical facts are incorrect in the press release from ICE tonight, and we'd like to set the record straight.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office notified ICE that inmate Osmani Garces-Ortiz would be released from the facility via an email on Monday, October 28, 2019 at 3:57 p.m. The inmate was then released from custody into the public lobby at 6:27 p.m. that evening. This notification followed the receipt of an administrative detainer request from ICE related to this inmate. Notifying ICE of the pending release of an individual they requested be detained is standard procedure for the sheriff’s office, and has been since 2014. At the time of the inmate’s release from custody a legal reason to continue to hold the inmate did not exist."