U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services admitted that gang member and illegal immigrant Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez, charged with four counts of first-degree murder in North Carolina last week, was spared deportation under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program two years ago.
Rangel-Hernandez had extensive gang ties and a prior drug arrest when he came before USCIS for a deportation proceeding in 2012. Although immigration officials knew about his past, they allowed Rangel-Hernandez to stay in the country anyway.
USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez called the decision a mistake, saying “based on standard procedures and processes in place at the time, the [deferred action] request and related employment authorization should not have been approved.”
Rangel-Hernandez has been implicated in the deaths of four people in a drug-fueled killing spree in North Carolina this year, including America’s Next Top Model contestant Mirjana Puhar.
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Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa blamed USCIS’s oversight on the Obama administration’s policies toward illegal immigrants.
“It’s no secret that USCIS staff is under intense pressure to approve every DACA application that comes across their desk, and based on this information, it’s clear that adequate protocols are not in place to protect public safety,” Grassley said. “The fact is that this tragedy could have been avoided if the agency had a zero-tolerance policy with regard to criminal aliens and gang members.”