FAIRFAX, Va. – ICE agents have started the very beginning stages of the deportation process for four of the ten suspects being held on charges related to gang activity, and the abduction and murder of Damaris Alexandra Reyes, the 15-year-old Gaithersburg girl whose body was found in Fairfax in February.
"ICE lodged detainers on four individuals in the custody of the Fairfax County Police Department, Cindy Blanco Hernandez, Wilmer A. Sanchez-Serrano, Aldair J. Miranda Carcamo and Jose Castillo Rivas,” ICE Spokesperson Carissa Cutrell, said in a statement.
“A detainer is a request from ICE to be notified before an individual is released from custody. Doing so permits ICE to arrange to take custody of that individual,” the statement continued.
The fact that detainers were lodged against these suspects means they are in the United States illegally; they are undocumented, or they are here on a visa or waiver, and violated the terms of that agreement.
“Gang membership is a huge factor in deciding whether or not someone gets to leave or stay,” explained Criminal Defense Attorney Mirriam Seddiq, who is currently a volunteer attorney with the Dulles Justice Coalition.
Seddiq has represented a number of teenagers and young adults who were charged with crimes and facing deportation.
“A lot of times, young kids will ask, ‘If I serve my 10 or 15 years, will I be able to stay?’ Because this is all they have ever known,” she explained.
However, Seddiq said, once ICE lodges a detainer on a convicted criminal, staying in America is not usually an option.
Instead, she explained, suspects go through their trial and serve their full sentence in the United States, then they are handed over to ICE and either deported immediately or given an immigration hearing.
“That is how MS-13 started, Seddiq described, “It was people who were sent back to their country, and then came back here, and brought it here.”
As a criminal attorney, that has a lot of experience with immigration law, Seddiq said she believes deportation does not necessarily fix the problem.
“The reality is that people want to escape where they are from, they come here because it is still the Promise Land and they will keep coming back.”
ICE also lodged detainers on Edgar Oswaldo Blanco Torres, and Jose Martir Larios Espenal, with the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office in Pennsylvania. The two men are charged with the Prince William County murder of Christian Sosa Rivas. His killing is believed to be gang-related and connected to the death of Reyes.
In a statement, ICE reaffirmed, “If an individual is convicted of a crime, he/she would serve any corresponding jail sentences before entering ICE custody. Once in ICE custody, individuals are processed as prescribed by the Immigration and Nationality Act.”