Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested the father of the illegal immigrant accused of raping a 14-year-old student in Rockville, Maryland.
ICE spokesperson Sarah Rodriguez said 43-year-old Adolfo Sanchez-Reyes was arrested last Friday “after a review of his immigration history revealed he was unlawfully present in the United States” from Guatemala.
Sanchez-Reyes, the father of 18-year-old Henry Sanchez-Milian, has been issued a notice to appear in immigration court and is currently being detained at the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup. His son is one of two teenage students charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sexual offenses of a 14-year-old girl inside a bathroom at the Montgomery County high school.
Henry was stopped by a Border Patrol agent in August 2016 in Rio Valley Grande, Texas. He had entered the country illegally from Mexico and was ordered to appear before an immigration judge, but the hearing had not yet been scheduled.
“He was stopped at the border and detained by ICE,” said Andrew Jezic, the defense attorney for the 18-year-old illegal immigrant accused of rape. “He was detained for 12 days, but then ICE made the discretionary decision to simply let him go. They put him on a plane in Texas and his father had to pay for the ticket. His father picked him up at BWI Airport and he’s been in this country with the full awareness of ICE.”
Mr. Jezic claims his client is innocent and said the encounter with the 14-year-old girl was pre-planned and consensual. Police say the rape kit recovered clear physical evidence of forced sexual assault.
The immigration status of the other suspect, identified by police as Jose Montano, 17, of El Salvador, was not immediately clear.
Earlier Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities, saying they “cannot continue” and federal funds will be withheld.
The announcement comes after President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order–Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States–which aims to put an end sanctuary cities. Polling shows voters overwhelmingly support the order and the latest decision to withhold funding from cities who do not cooperate with federal authorities and follow federal law.
A recent survey found 62% of likely voters wanted the Department of Justice (DOJ) to punish cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Another recent Harvard-Harris poll found 80% of Americans believe local authorities should comply with federal immigration authorities.
“They make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on our streets,” Attorney General Sessions added.