Instead, they were out on the streets — thanks to judges’ orders — where, according to police, they and another illegal immigrant delivered an MS-13 gang beat-down to two high school students in New York.
All three of the illegal immigrants entered the U.S. in 2016 as unaccompanied alien children, meaning they crossed the border without parents — a status that earned them a quick release into the country, where they were quickly reunited with their family and began to live while awaiting deportations that never came.
For Homeland Security Department officials, it’s the latest sign of a legal system that stymies their efforts to oust dangerous figures.
“One of the loopholes we are imploring Congress to close could have prevented this gruesome attack,” said Katie Waldman, a Homeland Security spokeswoman.
The three illegal immigrants got into a melee outside a Burger King in Huntington Station, New York, one afternoon last week. One of the teens was stabbed in the back, according to local news reports.
Authorities didn’t have a specific motive for the attack but said the victims were inside eating, saw the boys they knew from high school giving them menacing looks, and decided to leave.
The three illegal immigrants were found later with bloodstained hands and clothes, and their names popped up as MS-13 members in a check of a gang-records database.
Mr. Arevalo Lopez showed up at a California border crossing three months shy of his 18th birthday in December 2016, during the second major wave of illegal immigration under President Obama.
Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and a Clinton-era court settlement, the Flores agreement, unaccompanied children traveling without parents are required to be processed by immigration authorities and quickly released to social workers, and from there to sponsors. more