The family of 16-year-old Juan Carlos con Guzman was in shock back in September, when the high school student lost his life.
Investigators say he showed up for a planned fight near the Green River in King County, Washington. Court documents show he was brutally beaten with a baseball bat, his neck repeatedly chopped with a machete – his dismembered body thrown into the river.
Police later arrested the suspects – Carlos Orlando Iraheta-Vega, and Rudy Osvaldo Garcia-Hernandez, undocumented immigrants, from El Salvador.
Both self -proclaimed MS13 gang members, according to authorities, one with a long criminal history who had an ICE detainer lodged against him.
But King County, in Washington state where the alleged murder occurred, has a Sanctuary Law which prevents local law enforcement from sharing information with federal immigration officials.
“This was a preventable murder,” said Ken Cuccinelli, Acting Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services.
“The local law enforcement authorities refused to turn him over to ICE, refused to communicate with ICE so this murder happened had they done that this person would be out of the community and out of the country – deported,” Cuccinelli said in an interview Monday.
Supporters of sanctuary laws say they’re necessary to protect other undocumented immigrants.
“Sanctuary cities laws were always put into place to make sure that everybody felt they could reach out to law enforcement, when they’re seeing a crime on the street, being abused by a spouse not be concerned about their immigration status,” said Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif.
The merits of sanctuary laws may come up if Congress decides to take up comprehensive immigration reform, but until that happens, state and local laws could continue to clash with current federal law and be a flashpoint as the 2020 election campaign heats up.
On Capitol Hill, Republican Senators have just introduced legislation called Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act. They’ll hold a hearing on the topic on Tuesday.
Another PREVENTABLE murder in a sanctuary city. This time, it's Seattle (again): https://t.co/oX0cobyDa4
— USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli (@USCISCuccinelli) October 22, 2019
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