The man charged with murdering America’s Next Top Model contestant Mirjana Puhar was allegedly an illegal immigrant who received amnesty from deportation despite gang ties, U.S. Senator Charles Grassley revealed today.
Grassley (R-Iowa), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicated that he confirmed this information with federal immigration insiders who apparently have come forward as whistleblowers.
ANTM star Puhar, 19, was one of the victims of a triple homicide in Charlotte, North Carolina, late last month. She was a runner-up in the 21st installment of the reality show which aired last year. Police arrested a 19-year-old suspect, Emmanuel Jesus Rangel, and charged him with three counts of first-degree murder. Cops reportedly believe the crime may have been drug related.
In late February, as the Inquisitr previously reported, Grassley sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security asking the agency for details on the suspect’s immigration status, if any, particularly if he applied for and was granted permission to stay in the country under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Grassley also wanted to know if whether federal authorities knew Rangel was allegedly a gang member.
DHS never responded by Grassley’s March 9 deadline.
In June 2012, without going through Congress, President Obama suspended the deportation of about one million undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children under the DACA program. These immigrants are often referred to as “DREAMers” after the DREAM Act that was never voted into law by Congress.
In a press statement today released with Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Grassley provided this background on the suspect who allegedly avoided deportation.
“Records indicate Rangel-Hernandez was placed in the removal process by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) following drug charges in March 2012, but removal proceedings were dismissed on December 18, 2012, because he was approved for deferred action under DACA. Whistleblowers allege that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services granted Rangel-Hernandez’s DACA application despite knowledge that he was a gang member.”
In an accompanying letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, Grassley and Tillis want to know, among other things, how many DACA applications the agency approved for individuals with known or suspected gang affiliations.
The suspect in the Mirjana Puhar murder was busted in North Carolina for marijuana possession in 2012, the Washington Times reported.
“More than a year later Mr. Rangel-Hernandez’s case was pending before Immigration Judge Theresa Holmes-Simmons, who closed the case and freed him, saying the Obama administration had agreed to it because he’d been approved for the amnesty.”
Separately, Charlotte police have made a second arrest in the Mirjana Puhar murder case.
[Photo By Rachel Murray/Getty Images Entertainment]