Welcome, foreign felons

Posted: July 18, 2014

MAYOR NUTTER'S dangerous coddle-a-criminal executive order is bearing fruit.

Maury Croussett-Garcia, 22, who had been serving 11 1/2 to 23 months for felony aggravated assault, was released from Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on July 7, despite an immigration detainer, or hold, placed on him by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Turning free the violent criminal - who is from the Dominican Republic - was a big middle finger to the feds and to Philadelphians from a Sanctuary City that gives foreign criminals a big, wet kiss.

Philadelphia ties Chicago as least cooperative city, I'm told on background by ICE officials in Philadelphia. I'm so proud.

Croussett-Garcia was captured by ICE a week later and is facing deportation.

The city's turn-a-blind-eye policy might have enabled the June rape of a doctor in her Spruce Street apartment. The charged suspect is Milton Mateo Garcia, 28, a Honduran who returned here after being deported. Under Nutter's executive order, he would have been protected from ICE before the rape charge and it would shield him even after conviction.

It started in 2009 when illegal-immigrant sympathizers demanded the city end participation in "Secure Communities," a federal program in which local police provide names to ICE and hold suspects for up to 48 hours while ICE runs checks on them. The purpose: to identify and deport criminals. Nutter saw no reason to halt the program at that time.

Less than a year later, Nutter flip-flopped and said he'd stop the feds from accessing the Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System. The foreign-criminal enablers screeched that PARS led to deportation of those arrested for even "minor" crimes.

"Minor" crimes are those that did not happen to you. Those here illegally are already guilty of that "minor" crime. Those who work are guilty of that "minor" crime. How many bites of the apple are they entitled to?

To protect undocumented-immigrant crime victims and witnesses from harm, in July 2010, Nutter extended the agreement with ICE, but with names of victims and witnesses deleted from crime reports. That was a fair compromise.

Last April 16, hounded by the never-satisfied enablers, Nutter extended cooperation with ICE but issued an executive order with devastating loopholes. ICE would be notified only if the suspect has a previous conviction. But not just a conviction, it must be a felony. Not just a felony, it must be a first- or second-degree felony. Not just a first- or second-degree felony, it must also involve violence.

That is just fabulous for (nonviolent) drunken drivers, drug dealers and shoplifters.

It was great news for Jose Palermos, 43, who in March 2013 was convicted of indecent assault on a 7-year-old girl. That got the sex offender on Megan's Law, but wasn't enough to get the city to honor ICE's hold on him. His was "only" a third-degree felony. You know, "minor." Fortunately, ICE arrested and deported him to Mexico anyway, no thanks to the muddle-headed mayor and elements of the City Council Clown Posse.

Croussett-Garcia, however, Philadelphia Prisons spokeswoman Shawn Hawes told me, was convicted of a first-degree felony, with violence, yet the city didn't hold him.

Here the story gets worse, much worse.

In addition to the loopholes mentioned above, there is one more - and it is a killer catch-22. Before the city will hold the convicted foreign felon, the executive order demands ICE must present a "judicial warrant." ICE didn't present a judicial warrant.

The last time I wrote about the city and ICE, I ignored the "judicial warrant" element. I thought it was just legal jabberwocky. I was wrong, very wrong. It is a deadly poison pill.

Getting a criminal judicial warrant is just about impossible, ICE says, because the crime has already been solved.

So there we are. If you are a foreigner and commit a felony in Philly, we won't help the feds deport you.

Beautiful.

The local ICE office covers Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware and doesn't break down deportations by locality. ICE officials tell me there were 5,800 "removals" last year and two-thirds were convicted criminals. The other one-third were gangbangers and others who threaten the community.

By coddling foreign felons, Nutter's insane executive order puts Philadelphians at risk.

We've had a felony assault, a child molestation, an apparent rape. Do we need a few murders before Nutter wakes up, walks back his executive order and again cooperates with ICE, which is trying to protect us?


Email: stubyko@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5977

On Twitter: @StuBykofsky

Blog: ph.ly/Byko

Columns: ph.ly/StuBykofsky

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