(NEW YORK) — The acting director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement slammed New York City’s leaders and their sanctuary city policies at a news conference Friday following the arrest of an undocumented immigrant in the death of a 92-year-old Queens woman.
Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence said it was “unbelievable” he had to come to New York to “plead” for cooperation from the city’s authorities when it came to cases involving fugitive undocumented individuals. He blamed Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s sanctuary city policy for the murder of Maria Fuentes, who was allegedly assaulted physically and sexually by Reeaz Khan, a 21-year-old undocumented Guyanese national.
Albence reiterated that federal authorities lodged a detainer against Khan after he stabbed his father with a broken coffee cup in November, but because the city didn’t turn him over to their custody, he was able to roam the streets and attack Fuentes on Jan. 6. She died from her wounds four days later.
“I hold the policies of this city put in place by the mayor culpable for this crime,” Albence said.
Khan was arrested on Jan. 11 and has been detained at Rikers Island on murder and attempted rape charges. ICE officials have issued another detainer against him. His attorney did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
The NYPD said it never received the detainer for Khan back in November.
Under its rules, the NYPD honors federal detainers if “ICE presents a warrant issued by a federal judge establishing that there is probable cause to take the person into custody, and the person has been convicted of a ‘violent or serious crime’ within five years of the arrest or is a possible match on the terrorist watch list,” according to a spokesperson to the department.
“The NYPD follows local law as it pertains to detainer requests,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Albence said the NYPD only complied with 10 out of the 7,526 detainers that ICE’s New York field office filed last year. He warned that more violent crimes would continue if the city didn’t comply with his agency.
“These are preventable crimes people,” he said.
In a statement, de Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein dismissed Albence’s complaints against the city’s handling of Fuentes’ death.
“Fear hate and attempts to divide are signatures of the Trump administration, not New York City. We are the safest big city in America because of our policies, not in spite of them. We must band together as New Yorkers and reject these lies,” she said.
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