House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have demanded Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson provide both Committees “with the immigration history and status, executive summary, criminal history and any other information that may be readily available surrounding Mr. Juan Jimeniz-Olivera” before he was arrested in connection with murdering co-worker Syiatlana Dranko on April 29, 2014.
Jimeniz-Olivera pleaded guilty to setting her body and home on fire.
The two lawmakers said, “This is yet another report of an unlawful alien who has committed murder in the United States.”
The letter to Johnson came in response to media accounts that Jimenez-Olivera, an unlawful immigrant living in the United States who pleaded guilty to murder, aggravated arson, desecrating human remains, theft, hindering apprehension and tampering with evidence in connection with the murder of Syiatlana Dranko.
Goodlatte and Grassley sent the letter seeking to “to better understand how Mr. Jimeniz-Olivera evaded immigration authorities and removal from the country …”
Goodlatte recently condemned the Obama administration for its lack of immigration enforcement against criminal aliens, which he said has resulted in the victimization and murders of innocent Americans.
Goodlatte slammed the administration’s “lack of enforcement of immigration laws after reports that Victor Aureliano Martinez Ramirez, an unlawful immigrant, allegedly raped, tortured and murdered 64 year old Marilyn Pharis in Santa Maria, California in late July,” his office said.
According to news reports, Goodlatte’s announcement on August 14 stated, “Martinez has been in the United States illegally since at least 2009, and has avoided deportation because of local, state and federal policies that provide sanctuary to unlawful and even criminal immigrants. After a 2014 arrest for battery and possession of methamphetamine, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lodged a detainer against Ramirez, but the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office refused to honor the detainer.”
“According to the Santa Maria Police Chief, Ramirez has been arrested six times in just the last 15 months, most recently a mere eight days before Pharis’ murder. But because the Obama administration’s removal priorities changed in late 2014, and ICE determined that Ramirez’s ‘case history showed he had no prior deportations or felony criminal convictions,’ he was not deemed an enforcement priority under the changed removal priorities and ICE refused, this time, to lodge a detainer,” Goodlate’s announcement stated, adding, “Ramirez was simply released onto the streets of Santa Maria, free to murder Marilyn Pharis.”
“The Obama administration’s callous disregard for our nation’s immigration laws has spiraled into public safety crisis that has manifested itself in the heinous murder of another innocent woman, this time a veteran of the United States Air Force,” Goodlate said.
Continuing, Goodlate said, “The Obama administration should be leading the way in immigration enforcement so states and localities can no longer ignore federal law and enact dangerous sanctuary policies. Instead, this administration’s misguided policy that only certain criminal convictions should render an unlawful immigrant a ‘priority’ for removal – leads to countless crimes inflicted on Americans and legal immigrants. How many Americans must die at the hands of unlawful criminal immigrants before the Obama administration takes a serious look at the failure of its own policies?”
In their letter to Johnson, Goodlate and Grassley stated: “According to an online New Jersey media outlet, Juan Jimenez-Olivera pleaded guilty [last] Wednesday to murdering his female co-worker Syiatlana Dranko, aggravated arson, desecrating human remains, theft, hindering apprehension and tampering with evidence. Mr. Jimenez-Olivera appeared before Somerset County Superior Court to answer charges surrounding the death of Ms. Dranko, and admitted to the judge that he was in the country illegally.”
“In order to better understand how Mr. Jimenez-Olivera evaded immigration authorities and removal from the country, we are seeking answers about his entry to and residency in the United States,” Goodlate and Grassley told Johnson in their letter.
They summoned Johnson to “provide both committees on the Judiciary, no later than August 18, with the immigration history and status, executive summary, criminal history and any other information that may be readily available surrounding Mr. Jimenez-Olivera.”
Furthermore, they told Johnson to provide both committees with the following documents and answers to the below questions as soon as possible, but not later than August 28:
- Has Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or ICE ever encountered Mr. Jimenez-Olivera? If so, please provide details.
- Were any detainers or requests for notification about the release of Mr. Jimenez-Olivera issued by DHS to any state, local or federal jurisdiction or agency?
- Did Mr. Jimenez-Olivera ever apply for any immigration benefit, including deferred action? If so, was any application approved? Please provide copies of any applications that Mr. Jimenez-Olivera may have submitted.
- Please provide a copy of the alien file for Mr. Jimenez-Olivera.
- Please provide any information collected or maintained by ICE regarding Mr. Jimenez-Olivera.
- Please provide any information collected or maintained by CBP regarding Mr. Jimenez-Olivera.
- Please provide any other information collected or maintained by DHS regarding Mr. Jimenez-Olivera.
- If Mr. Jimenez-Olivera had been encountered by DHS enforcement officials prior to his arrest in connection with the murder of Ms. Dranko, would he have met the requirements to be considered a priority for removal under the Administration’s new Priority Enforcement Program? If so, please provide the exact reason for such consideration. If not, why not?
In July, the House Judiciary Committee’s Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee held a hearing on sanctuary city policies to examine dangerous policies adopted by some state and local governments that refuse to honor the federal government’s authority to enforce immigration laws, and the Obama administration’s complicity in this problem.
At the hearing, Goodlatte questioned witnesses regarding the best policies for the removal of criminal aliens before they commit more violent crimes.
In late July, the House of Representatives passed the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act, which if enacted would be a good first step toward ending sanctuary city policies.
In addition, legislation authored by Immigration and Border Security Chairman Trey Gowdy, the Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act, contains what GOP lawmakers said is the best legislative solution to end sanctuary cities and the Obama administration’s policies that encourage them.