Gang Member Granted Amnesty Under Obama Program Faces Murder Charges

A gang member granted amnesty under President Obama’s amnesty program now faces four murder charges. The incident sparked a new review process of all people applying for deference in the U.S.

Fox News reports that Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program January, 13, 2013. Within seven months, he received notification that granted him a work permit, along with a two-year legal status. Per U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Leon Rodriguez, who is now raising concerns about the case, Rangel-Hernandez was in the federal crime database, listed as a known gang member.

“Based on the standard procedures and protocols in place at the time, the DACA request and related employment authorization should not have been approved.”

Rangel-Hernandez now faces murder charges for four different people killed in North Carolina. One of the victims, America’s Next Top Model contestant Mirjana Puhar, 19, was killed on February 24 in Charlotte, while visiting her boyfriend, Jonathan Alvarado, and his roommate, Jusmar Gonzaga-Garcia. Alvarado and Gonzaga-Garcia were also killed during the incident, which took place at their home off of Norris Ave.

Along with Rangel-Hernandez, 19-year-old David Ezequel Lopez was also said to be involved in the murders. Both men were arrested and charged with three counts of felony first-degree murder.

Rangel-Hernandez also reportedly killed one man and wounded another in Marshall, North Carolina. Authorities believe that a drug altercation set off the incident.

USCIS indicates that at least 20 other people with known ties to gangs were approved under DACA, although Homeland Security states that anyone with any connections with gangs are a cause for rejection from the program.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley recently issued a written statement on the incident. He pointed out that Rangel-Hernandez’s past may have been approved regardless of his known gang activities.

“It’s no secret that USCIS staff is under intense pressure to approve every DACA application that comes across their desk, and based on this information, it’s clear that adequate protocols are not in place to protect public safety. The fact is that this tragedy could have been avoided if the agency had a zero-tolerance policy with regard to criminal aliens and gang members.”

Senator Tom Tillis, of North Carolina, also spoke on the issue, stating that a loophole in the program is allowing criminals to stay in the U.S. Rangel-Hernandez was initially set to be deported in 2012, but was protected by DACA.

“The flawed implementation of the president’s blanket deferred action program has created a loophole that allows dangerous criminals who came here illegally – even known gang members – to stay in the country. The USCIS needs to immediately start performing detailed criminal background checks to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.”

Although his amnesty is now revoked, Rangel-Hernandez is still in the U.S. to face his murder charges. He remains in jail with no bond.

[Photo Courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department]