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ICE admits it ‘erroneously’ released illegal immigrant wanted for murder in home country


Daily Caller News Foundation

Federal immigration authorities acknowledged that an illegal immigrant and convicted murderer in their custody was mistakenly released into the country, citing the border crisis as reason for the error.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents re-arrested Colombian national Efrain Vidales Vargas in Massachusetts earlier this month, the agency confirmed. Vargas was previously convicted of homicide in his home country in September 2016, but managed to enter the U.S. illegally through the southern border in 2023 and got released from ICE custody.

“Efrain Vidales Vargas, an unlawfully present Colombian national who is wanted by Colombian authorities for a Homicide conviction, unlawfully entered the U.S. in November 2023 was erroneously released from ICE custody,” an spokesperson stated to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Tuesday. “After additional internal review, deportation officers with ERO Boston re-arrested Vargas May 6, 2024, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.” 

The agency’s statement also appeared to cite the current border crisis as reason for the error, noting that the number of deportation officers pale in comparison to the number of illegal immigrants arriving into the U.S.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Enforcement and Removal Operations employs a staff of around 4,000 deportation officers who manage a national non-detained docket of more than 7 million noncitizens – a number that increases every day,” the spokesperson said.

In a press release on Monday, ICE stated that the Colombian national was arrested and charged with aggravated homicide, aggravated theft and possession of a weapon on April 5, 2014, in his home country. He was convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison on September 29, 2016.

For reasons that remain unclear, Vargas left local custody in Colombia and was apprehend by Border Patrol agents near San Luis, Arizona, on November 27, 2023. He was issued a notice to appear before an immigration judge and released on an order of recognizance, according to the agency.

Vargas is currently in the agency’s custody and is expected to be deported back to Colombia to face criminal prosecution, the spokesperson confirmed to the DCNF on Tuesday.

ICE recently admonished local law enforcement officials in Massachusetts for ignoring an ICE detainer on an illegal immigrant previously in their custody and allowing him to be released back into the community. The state has been identified as a “sanctuary” state because of local laws that make it more difficult for deportation officers to apprehend illegal immigrants.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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