Several immigrant reentry-after-deportation criminal cases have been filed in federal court in South Florida.
The cases involve foreign nationals from Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico — all of them previously deported. Under immigration law, previously deported immigrants who return can be charged criminally and prosecuted.
Previously deported foreign nationals are targets for immigration agency action. Officers can arrest and deport previously expelled immigrants despite recent leniency policies enacted by President Barack Obama’s administration aimed at shielding from deportation many non-criminal undocumented immigrants.
Principal targets are foreign nationals deemed national security threats, followed by those convicted of serious crimes and then those who have reentered the country after prior deportation.
Among recent cases were two Mexican nationals, one arrested in St. Lucie County and the other in Palm Beach County.
The first case involved a man named Francisco Reyes who was arrested in July in St. Lucie County for driving without a valid license.
After posting bond, Reyes was released but by then immigration officials had become aware of his case. They checked his background and tracked him down.
A criminal complaint filed in court by a deportation officer at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said Reyes was deported in 2014 after having been previously convicted of driving without a license in a death or serious injury case; and driving while under the influence.
Reyes, a Mexican national, was arrested Nov. 18 and indicted six days later. He is now awaiting trial.
Another Mexican, Everardo Luevano, came to ICE’s attention after being arrested in Palm Beach County for driving under the influence and without a valid license, according to an ICE criminal complaint.
Luevano had been previously deported to Mexico in 2001, the complaint said. Luevano was arrested by federal agents on Sept. 17 and was indicted Oct. 1.
Though Luevano pleaded not guilty initially, he later changed his mind and has since been sentenced to time served and turned over to ICE for deportation.
The next reentry-after-deportation case came on Oct. 8when Héctor Rodríguez, of Honduras, was arrested in Palm Beach County for driving without a valid driver license and failure to appear, according to an ICE complaint.
The complaint said Rodríguez sneaked into the United States in February 2014 after having been deported first in 2008 and again in 2011. Actually, in 2011, Rodríguez was deported three times — in March, June and August, the complaint said.
Rodríguez has since pleaded not guilty and is now awaiting trial. If found guilty he is likely to be deported again after imprisonment.
On Nov. 12, María Lastenia Miranda was arrested after arriving at Miami International Airport (MIA) on a flight from San Pedro Sula, Honduras and admitting that she had been previously deported in 2001, according to court records.
Miranda is now awaiting trial after pleading not guilty in court.
On Nov. 14, Froilan Aguilar of Guatemala was arrested in Palm Beach County while driving without a valid license.
An ICE criminal complaint said Aguilar admitted to having entered the United States illegally in 2012 after having been deported once in 2011 and twice in 2012.
Aguilar has since pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.