NEW YORK -- Federal immigration officials, after blaming the city’s sanctuary policy for a 92-year-old woman’s rape and murder, were blasted Tuesday by City Hall for using the tragedy to trumpet their immigration agenda.
The NYPD ignored a federal request to turn over an undocumented Guyanese immigrant busted in November for assaulting his father, leaving the twisted suspect free to kill helpless nonagenarian Maria Fuentes six weeks later, charged Thomas Decker, field office director for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removal operations.
“Clearly the politicians care more about criminal illegal aliens than the citizens they are elected to serve and protect," said Decker. “It was a deadly choice to release a man on an active ICE detainer back on the streets, and now he faces new charges, including murder."
The NYPD and City Hall fired back in tandem at the allegation of blood on their hands in the gruesome Fuentes murder.
The police first issued a statement refuting ICE’s version of what happened, insisting the department was never notified about any detainer in this case. A City Hall source echoed the police account, adding that the city’s standard for turning over suspects was conviction rather than just allegations.
“We mourn with the family of Ms. Fuertes,” said mayoral spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie. "If Mr. Khan is convicted, the city will cooperate with federal officials in accordance with local law. It is shameful that the Trump Administration is politicizing this tragedy.”
Khan, 21, remains jailed on Rikers Island in last week’s savage and deadly assault on Fuertes as the helpless old Queens resident scavenged for returnable bottles and cans to collect a few extra dollars.
ICE officials said they targeted Khan following the Nov. 27 attack on his dad with a broken coffee cup, only to get the cold shoulder in their effort to deport the suspect because of the city’s sanctuary policies. Khan was arraigned on charges of assault and criminal possession of a weapon and released after cutting his dad in the chest and arm with the mug.
Six weeks later, he was on the Queens streets at the same time that Fuertes was walking through Richmond Hills shortly after midnight on Jan. 6. His own brother called police to identify Reeaz as the suspect after a video of the horrifying incident was released by police.
The sobbing, sniffling suspect denied any part in the elderly woman’s death during an exclusive Rikers Island interview with the Daily News.
Decker said his agency filed a second detainer Monday with the NYPD in hopes of taking Khan into custody following the murder arrest, adding that the suspect was an “unlawfully present Guyanese national" while taking a shot at city policy.
New York’s sanctuary status “repeatedly protects criminal aliens who show little regard for the laws of this nation," Decker said.
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