The case of Sergio Jose Martinez, 31, in Portland, Oregon is likely to magnify the current debate over sanctuary cities. Martinez broke into the home of a 65-year-old woman and sexual assaulted her. He then stole her car and proceeded to assault another woman. He was finally arrested after a chase by police. It was discovered that Martinez was previously arrested and, despite a long criminal history and an immigration detainer, was released by authorities. He has been deported 20 previous times and has at least five probation violations.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lodged an immigration detainer against Martinez and asked for authorities to notify them before releasing Martinez. The notice would have allowed ICE to take custody, but in December 2016 he was released without notifying ICE. Multnomah County leaders and Sheriff Mike Reese wrote a letter to assure the public that “The Sheriff’s Office does not hold people in county jails on ICE detainers or conduct any immigration enforcement actions.”
Martinez has a felony conviction for burglary and three misdemeanor convictions for battery, theft, and obstructing a public officer. I have previously discussed how sanctuary laws are too restrictive on the underlying crimes that are exempted from the protections.
Martinez is now facing include first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery (two counts), second-degree assault, first-degree sex abuse, first-degree sodomy and first-degree burglary.