WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services admitted it should not have granted deferred deportation to a known gang member who is now charged with murder in North Carolina.
Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez is charged with the murders of four people in North Carolina, including a former ‘America’s Next Top Model’ contestant.
In a letter to Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, USCIS stated that Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez’s request for deferred deportation under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order “should not have been approved” based on its procedures and protocols.
In March of 2012 Rangel-Hernandez was placed in the removal process but was shielded from deportation despite the fact that the agency knew about his gang membership.
“The flawed implementation of the president’s blanket deferred action program has created a loophole that allows dangerous criminals who came here illegally – even known gang members – to stay in the country. The USCIS needs to immediately start performing detailed criminal background checks to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future,” said Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, a member the Senate Judiciary Committee.
USCIS’ confirmation of the error follows inquiries in February and March asking for details on the case as well as statistics on the number of DACA recipients with gang ties and other criminal records.
According to USCIS, records of Rangel-Hernandez’s gang affiliation in TECS, a federal crime database, should have been reviewed by USCIS’ Background Check Unit before to being sent for a decision on his DACA application.
It is still unclear whether the Background Check Unit failed to discover the TECS record or whether the application was approved despite knowledge of the gang ties and without consulting headquarters.