A known gang member who previously avoided deportation through use of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is suspected of subsequently murdering three people earlier this year, according to evidence obtained by Republican senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
DACA, which the president instituted through executive action in 2012, allows some illegal immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and who meet other eligibility requirements to avoid deportation for two years.
Grassley, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, and Tillis learned that Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez, the suspected murderer, avoided deportation in December 2012 because he was approved for DACA. Rangel-Hernandez is suspected of killing three people in North Carolina earlier this year.
In a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, the Senators shared their concerns about the handling of Rangel-Hernandez’s case. Specifically, they cited whistleblowers’ allegations that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency granted Rangel-Hernandez’s DACA application despite knowing that he was a gang member. The senators asked Johnson to respond to their questions about potential vulnerabilities in the immigration system, and noted that he had not yet responded to Grassley’s initial inquiry last month.