The Obama administration began the process last year of granting legal status to an adult illegal immigrant from Mexico with a criminal background who federal agents tried deporting twice and is now accused of killing his 15-year-old girlfriend.
Armando Garcia-Ramirez, 36, has been charged with murdering his teenage girlfriend from Texas, who local reporters identified as Jennifer Delgado, the Washington Times reported Tuesday.
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The ex-couple had a one-year-old child and Delgado was nine months pregnant with another when she was killed. Garcia-Ramirez was reportedly Delgado's stepfather at one time and may have been when he impregnated her.
Federal authorities apparently missed this relationship last year when Garcia-Ramirez was arrested for smuggling five other illegal immigrants into the United States. Prosecutors did not pursue the case, according to the Times, and Garcia-Ramirez went free after making bond. He was approved for a worker permit months later, which made him eligible for taxpayer benefits.
"This guy is the reason that Trump got elected," Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.) told the Times. "No matter how many times people say it's not true, and the media says things like this are on the fringe, this is why Trump got elected. And in California, this is not a fringe case."
Garcia-Ramirez has a long criminal record that includes two near deportations.
He was arrested in 2008 for assault, but the local prosecutor dropped the case. He was then charged with theft in 2009, before the case was later dismissed. In 2011, immigration agents arrested and tried to deport him, but he was released on bond.
Five years later, Garcia-Ramirez was accused of smuggling five illegal immigrants into the U.S. Federal agents again tried to deport him, but he was released on bond. A month and a half later, Garcia-Ramirez applied for legal status in the U.S. Then, in November 2016, the Obama administration approved his work permit, according to the Times.
ICE officials said immigration judges granted Garcia-Ramirez bond in both deportation cases but would not explain why the cases were not pursued further.
Garcia-Ramirez was arrested and charged for shooting Delgado earlier this month, the Daily Mail reported. He then tried to commit suicide with the .22 caliber weapon allegedly used to kill his girlfriend and stepdaughter, according to federal documents.
ICE agents say they will try to deport Garcia-Ramirez once more if he is released by Texas authorities following the conclusion of the case.
Hunter told the Times that Garcia-Ramirez should have been deported long ago, calling the decision "common sense."
"This is common sense. After his first arrest, he should have been sent home, period. Not bonded out. Sent home, quickly," Hunter said. "This guy would be at the front of the line under President Trump."