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Decision to release inmate draws attention to ICE detainment requests

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    Asheville (WLOS) — An undocumented immigrant convicted of child sex crimes is now back in ICE custody.

Torres, who was arrested in Asheville in May 2017, was released from the Buncombe County Detention Center earlier this week, despite a detainer request from ICE.

“I think there’s a need to shine a spotlight on the sheriff’s dangerous policy of releasing illegal aliens that have been charged with criminal offenses,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray said.

Murray called out Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller’s decision to release the 26-year-old undocumented immigrant.

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tills shares a similar stance, saying the sheriff’s actions are, “putting dangerous criminals back into our communities and impeding the ability of federal law enforcement to do their jobs.”

“Law enforcement has nothing to with the release,” founder of Indivisible Asheville Brenda Murphee said.

Murphee said the sheriff’s office was just doing its job and fully supports its decision.

“I, personally, am very happy that our local sheriff’s department is committed to enforcing the law, and not as ICE and Sen. Tillis would have, taking the law into their own hands,” Murphee said.

Miller has agreed to cooperate if the federal agency serves a criminal warrant. According to an ICE spokesmen, that’s not possible, saying judicial warrants can’t be provided in these cases because immigration enforcement in general is conducted under civil law.

Tillis hopes to change that by introducing legislation to clarify the Department of Homeland Security’s authority over local law enforcement. His goal is to eliminate any excuses for refusing to honor detainer requests from ICE.

Murphee said ICE enforcement doesn’t belong in local law enforcement.

“Their job is not to do immigration’s job, just as immigration’s job is not to come and do law enforcement in our community,” Murphee said.

Two days after being released, Torres was taken into custody by ICE.

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