ICE Director Slams Sanctuary City Policies After 92-Year-Old Queens Woman's Murder

Marla Diamond
January 17, 2020 - 1:46 pm
Matthew Albence

Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence was in New York City on Friday to decry sanctuary city policies that he says put public safety at risk.

"As much as I like New York City, I gotta tell you I hate that I'm here right now," Albence said.

His remarks come after the recent rape and murder of 92-year-old Maria Fuertes of Queens.

Reeaz Khan, a 21-year-old undocumented immigrant from Guyana who was released by police last November despite an ICE detainer after allegedly assaulting his father with broken glass, has been arrested and charged in the case.

The NYPD said it never received an ICE detainer after Khan's arrest last year.

"It is this city's sanctuary policies that are the sole reason this criminal was allowed to roam the streets freely and end an innocent woman's life," Albence said. "So here I am again, pleading with the people of New York City and all other sanctuary cities in the country, let ICE help you. Let us help you keep your community safe."

He said ICE can help prevent crimes, like the murder of Fuertes.

"All you need to do is call us before you release him, a phone call, one simple phone call and Maria Fuertes could be alive today," Albence said.

The acting ICE director said in the past year, New York City has refused over 7,500 detainers.

"The crimes these individuals have been convicted or charged with included 200 homicides, over 500 robberies, over 1,000 sexual offenses, over 1,000 weapons offenses, over 3,500 assaults and over 1,500 DUIs," Albence said.

In the ongoing war of words between City Hall and the federal government since Khan's arrest, Mayor Bill de Blasio's press secretary in a statement said, "Fear, hate and attempts to divide are signatures of the Trump administration, not New York City. We are the safest big city in America beecause of our policies, not in spite of them."