US Attorney Criticizes Buncombe County Sheriff for Releasing Inmate, Despite ICE Request

Oct 30, 2019

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials arrested a Salvadoran man in Asheville yesterday who was released from the county jail this week.

The 24-year-old suspect, Marvin Torres, was released Monday after being held for more than two years on charges of indecent liberties with a minor.

Torres was released despite ICE’s request that he be detained for additional time. The Buncombe County Sheriff's office says it denied the so-called detainer because Torres had already served the conditions set by a judge, and ICE did not secure an arrest warrant. 

US Attorney for Western North Carolina Andy Murray responded Wed. at the federal courthouse in Asheville, saying the ICE detainers are an extra tool for law enforcement that should be used to get criminals off the streets.  

“The distinction is that he has a detainer, he’s an illegal alien. That makes him in a different status. If he’s here illegally, he’s here in a different status,” Murray said. 

Immigration advocates argue the detainers violate the Fourth Amendmendment right to due process.

Murray’s comments come on the heels of a Senate hearing last week, led by GOP Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. There, Murray testified that sanctuary policies like the one in Buncombe County are “reckless.” 

Similarly, during his stop in Asheville, he called Torres' release from Buncombe County jail a “failure” on the part of Sheriff Quentin Miller. 

“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, and even those that have been convicted of serious criminal offenses, back to the streets of our community,” Murray said. 

ICE says overalll, sheriffs refusing to cooperate with the agency in North Carolina have so far refused to honor more than 500 detainers for foreign nationals during Fiscal Year 2019.