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Police and elected officials in Chicago have the audacity to vigorously defend their dangerous sanctuary policy after a previously deported illegal immigrant felon that they released from jail sexually assaulted a 3-year-old girl. The Mexican man, 34-year-old Christopher Puente, has a lengthy criminal history that includes two felony convictions, yet Chicago Police freed him into the community after his latest arrest for theft. It didn’t matter to those in charge of serving and protecting Windy City residents that the violent illegal alien had served time for forced-entry burglary and forgery or that he was recently charged with battery against a woman.
To honor Chicago’s outrageous sanctuary measure, authorities ignored an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer and instead released the aggravated felon. A few weeks ago, Puente sexually assaulted a toddler at a Cook County fast-food restaurant. He lured the girl into a bathroom stall of the River North eatery and sexually assaulted her, according to a local newspaper report that attributes the information to Cook County prosecutors. The girl’s father was in an adjacent stall helping her brother use the toilet. When he heard his daughter cry and saw her legs dangling, the father tried to open the locked stall where Puente held her and eventually pulled her out under the door. The illegal immigrant remained locked in the stall, according to prosecutors, but eventually escaped. The next day he was arrested for trespassing nearby and was singled out as the girl’s attacker. Puente confessed and provided authorities with disturbing details of the crime. A judge has ordered him held without bail for predatory sexual criminal assault.
Outraged federal authorities have reissued an immigration detainer with Cook County Jail. Had the first detainer been honored by Chicago authorities Puente would have been deported after his last arrest in mid-2019. “How many more victims must there be before lawmakers realize that sanctuary policies do not protect the innocent?” asked Robert Guadian, field office director of ICE’s Chicago Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). “Puente should have been in ICE custody last year and removed to his home country. Instead, irresponsible lawmaking allowed him to walk free and prey on our most vulnerable.” The agency is perpetually frustrated because detainers are continually rejected by Chicago-area law enforcement agencies. In Fiscal Year 2019, Cook County declined more than 1,000 detainers, according to figures provided by ICE.
Officials have no intention of changing their sanctuary policy. In fact, they made it a point to publicly defend it after Puente’s latest horrific crime. In the aftermath of the toddler’s sexual assault, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police issued media statements reiterating that they will not cooperate with the feds. Lightfoot trashed ICE, saying “they’re critical because we have said very clearly we are a welcoming city, a sanctuary city. Chicago Police Department will not cooperate with ICE on any immigration-related business. And that’s affected their ability to conduct immigration raids across the city. But that’s exactly our intention. We have to make sure our police department is seen as a legitimate force in all our communities.” In its statement, which was published in various local media outlets, the city’s law enforcement agency wrote this: “The Chicago Police Department remains committed to protecting all Chicago residents regardless of their immigration status. Our pledge to restrict ICE access to our information systems and our refusal to cooperate with ICE immigration enforcement measures has not changed.”
Chicago has long protected even the most violent of illegal immigrants. A few years ago, the city even launched a $1.3 million legal defense fund to help illegal aliens facing deportation. When the public fund was created, a Chicago alderman admitted he probably has illegal aliens working in his city office. The lawmaker, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, said this in a local news report: “Donald Trump, we are sending you a message, you will not tear apart our families, we will stay together. We will defend and protect our communities.” The money to defend illegal immigrants for violating the nation’s federal statutes comes from Chicago property tax rebate funds. At the time, an African-American alderman who represents Chicago’s South Side went along with the measure to help the city’s illegal immigrants, but made it clear that the struggling communities she represents should have priority. “I’d like to see the administration put the same amount of effort into creating a legal representation fund for all of those young black boys and black girls that are racially profiled in this city or are shot by the police unnecessarily or to support programs like CeaseFire to quell some of the violence in our community,” said Alderman Pat Dowell. “When the mayor talks about wanting to keep the immigrant communities safe, secure and supported, those are the same needs that other communities have…”