Suspect Charged with Multiple Murders Allegedly Granted Deferred Action Despite Known Gang Ties
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today is requesting information from the Department of Homeland Security after it allegedly granted an individual with known gang affiliations deferred deportation under the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. That individual, Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez, is now charged with first-degree murder in the death of four people in Charlotte, North Carolina, including Mirjana Puhar, a former contestant on “America’s Next Top Model.”
In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Grassley asked if U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was aware of Rangel-Hernandez’ gang affiliation, and if so, why the agency approved his application for deferred action. The letter also asked for all Homeland Security files relating to Rangel-Hernandez.
Since DACA’s implementation by the Obama Administration, Grassley has been concerned that adjudicators have been pressured to approve applications. In a 2012 letter to then Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Grassley said, “the signal being sent to adjudicators who process DACA applicants is clear: if they do not approve an application for DACA, then it will be reviewed by headquarters. Their decisions will be scrutinized until they get to a yes.”
A signed copy of the letter is available here. Text of the letter is below.
February 27, 2015
The Honorable Jeh Johnson
Department of Homeland Security
Dear Secretary Johnson:
According to press accounts, Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of four individuals in Charlotte, North Carolina, including Mirjana Puhar, a former contestant on “America’s Next Top Model.” Mr. Rangel-Hernandez allegedly applied for and received deferred action under the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Please provide to the Committee a copy of 1) the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) alien file on Rangel-Hernandez; 2) any information collected or maintained on Rangel-Hernandez by Immigration and Customs Enforcement; 3) any information collected or maintained on Rangel-Hernandez by U.S. Customs and Border Protection; 4) any other information collected or maintained on Rangel-Hernandez by the Department of Homeland Security.
In addition, please answer the following questions:
- Did Rangel-Hernandez ever apply for DACA? If so, was his application approved? Please provide copies of his DACA application.
- Did USCIS know or have reason to know that Rangel-Hernandez was a gang member at the time his DACA application was approved? If so, please provide the details about how and when the Department knew of any gang affiliation and explain why his DACA application would be approved despite the gang affiliation.
- If approved for DACA, has Rangel-Hernandez’s DACA grant been terminated? Has his employment authorization been terminated? If so, when? If not, why not?
I request that the Department respond to this letter no later than March 9, 2015. Should you have any questions, please contact Kathy Nuebel of my Committee staff at (202) 224-5225. Thank you.
Charles E. Grassley
Senate Committee on the Judiciary