Lawmakers: Murder suspect wasn’t deported, despite alleged crimes

Two GOP lawmakers are demanding a review of President Obama’s deferred action immigration program following revelations that a murder suspect in Charlotte, N.C., was shielded from deportation, despite his alleged gang ties.
Sens. Chuck GrassleyChuck Grassley3 ways Biden will reshape regulatory policy Biden's minimum wage push faces uphill battle with GOP Impeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP MORE (Iowa) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) said Friday they had confirmed the story and called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to review its policies on deferred deportation applicants with criminal histories.
The pair asked Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to detail DHS procedures concerning the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
They contacted Johnson after discovering that Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez, now a suspect in three Charlotte murders, received DACA protection on Dec. 18, 2013, despite an established criminal history.
Grassley and Tillis found that Rangel-Hernandez was first arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession in Charlotte on March 30, 2012.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) then put him into removal proceedings over his unlawful status, only for those to get dismissed after his DACA request was approved late last year.
Rangel-Hernandez is suspected of murdering three people in Charlotte late last month. One of the victims in the attack, Mirjana Puhar, was also a former contestant on the reality TV show “America’s Next Top Model.”
Grassley and Tillis on Friday accused immigration officials with ignoring the criminal danger individuals like Rangel-Hernandez might present American citizens.
“Furthermore, whistleblowers have alleged that Mr. Rangel-Hernandez’s DACA application was approved although U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had full knowledge that he was a known gang member,” they said in Friday’s letter.
“This raises serious concerns about USCIS’s review of approval of other DACA applicants and points to potential vulnerabilities in the system,” they added.
The two lawmakers are seeking information on how DACA requests are approved and what extra restrictions are placed on applicants with criminal backgrounds. They asked that Johnson respond no later than March 31.
DACA defers deportations for illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as children.
The New York Post on Friday reported that police arrested a second suspect in Charlotte over the triple murder. David Ezequel Lopez, 19, joins Rangel-Hernandez, also 19, behind bars as an alleged accomplice in the case.