Santa Rosa is not a sanctuary city — and the Press Democrat recently did an article about this fact. So when undocumented Guatemalan immigrant Nery Estrada-Margos was arrested for beating his girlfriend, Veronica Cabrera Ramirez, and then posted bail, Sonoma County authorities alerted Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
According to CBS 5, the county only gave ICE 16 minutes notice before releasing Estrada-Margos on August 4. Agents didn’t arrive in time, and Estrada-Margos was free to go. On August 18, Cabrera Ramirez would be found dead, allegedly beaten to death by Estrada-Margos — against whom she had just filed a restraining order. The woman’s family is wondering whose fault it is (other than Estrada-Margos’s). Should Sonoma County have given ICE more time to show up and take Estrada-Margos into custody or should ICE have responded faster?
And then of course there is the larger question: Should local law enforcement agencies turn undocumented immigrants accused of crimes, especially violent ones, directly over to immigration officials?
“This shouldn’t happen, that’s for sure. Someone made a mistake and then [this man] killed her,” said Gerardo Lopez, the victim’s ex-husband and father of her two teenage daughters.
Misty Harris of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office claimed that it was ICE who dropped the ball. “It’s up to them. If they can come and pick someone up, that’s their responsibility, not ours,” she said.
Harris continued, “First our condolences to the family. We can’t predict someone’s behavior. We have laws we have to operate within and can’t change them based on the people that come through our doors.”
Meanwhile, ICE officials blame the county. “A vast majority of notifications conveyed by Sonoma County to ICE in the past six months have failed to provide sufficient advance notification to pick up these criminals. The county’s policy of notifying ICE only minutes before releasing a criminal alien clearly failed in this case as it has in too many others,” reads a statement from ICE.
As for the family of the victim, they hope that the American justice system locks up Estrada-Margos. “They should notify sooner. They should give them more time to take this guy and take him back to his country. But now I am hoping he can be in jail forever,” said Lopez.