(Geary County Detention Center via AP)
A Mexican man accused of raping a 13-year-old girl on a Greyhound bus travelled through Kansas had been deported 10 times, and voluntarily removed from the U.S. nine times since 2003, are the records obtained by The Associated Press show.
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Three U.S. Republican senators — including Kansas’ Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts — also demanded this month that the Department of Homeland Security to provide immigration records for the 38-year-old Tomas Martinez-Maldonado, who is accused of a crime in the alleged Sept. 27 attack on board a bus in Geary County. He is being held in the Geary County jail in Junction City, about 120 miles west of Kansas City.
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, of Iowa, and chairman of the judiciary committee, co-signed a Dec. 9 letter with Moran and Roberts Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, called it “a very troubling case” and the question of how Martinez-Maldonado was able to re-enter and remain in the country.
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The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it is a detainer — a request to turn on Martinez-Maldonado over to ICE custody before he is released — with Geary County. ICE declined to discuss his specific case outside of her October statement with respect to the 10 deportations.
Court filings show Martinez-Maldonado has two misdemeanor convictions for entering without legal authorization, in cases prosecuted in 2013 and 2015 in the U. S. District Court of Arizona, where he was sentenced to serve 60 days and 165 days, respectively.
A status hearing in the rape case is scheduled for Jan. 10. Lawyer Lisa Hammer declined to comment on the charges, but said: ‘the criminal justice and immigration certainly cutting, and today it is the responsibility of each criminal defense lawyer to know what the possible consequences in the immigration courts.”
Nationwide, 52 percent of all federal prosecution in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 were for the access or re-entry without legal authorization, and similar immigration violations, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.
It is not unusual to see immigrants with multiple items, without legal permission, said David Trevino, a Topeka immigration lawyer also represents Martinez-Maldonado. Most of Martinez-Maldonado’s family lives in Mexico, but he also has family in the United States, and the family is “devastated,” Trevino said.
“(President-elect, Donald Trump) can build a wall 100 feet high and 50 metres deep, but it is not going to keep family members separated from each other. So if someone is deported and they have family members here … they will find a way back — whether it is through the air, under a wall, through the coast of the United States,” Trevino said.
He refused to comment on his client’s criminal history and pending payment.
Records obtained by AP show Martinez-Maldonado had eight voluntary removals for his first deportation in 2010, which was followed by a voluntary removal of that same year. He was deported five times between 2011 and 2013.
In 2013, Martinez-Maldonado was charged with entering without legal permission, a crime, and then deported in the beginning of 2014, after serving his sentence. He was deported a few months later, as well as twice in 2015 — including the latest in October 2015, after he had served his second sentence, the records show.
ICE said in a statement by e-mail when it comes in contact with a person who has been deported multiple times, or has a significant criminal history and was removed, also regularly presents cases in the U. S. attorney’s office for possible criminal prosecution.
Cosme Lopez, spokesman of the U. S. attorney’s office for the District of Arizona, refused to comment on why the officers of justice twice-dismissed felony re-entry after deportation against Martinez-Maldonado in 2013 and 2015 in exchange for guilty resources on the offence of importation costs.
Arizona comes in third place in the nation-behind only the Southern District of Texas and the Western District of Texas — for the number of immigration prosecutions under the nation’s 94 federal judicial districts for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, TRAC records show.
Moran told the AP in a statement by e-mail that the immigration system is “broken”.
“There needs to be serious legislative efforts to the AMERICAN immigration policy, and we need to have the ability to identify you, the persecution and deportation of illegal aliens who display violent tendencies before they have a chance to commit these crimes in the United States,” he said.