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Iowa, Nebraska Senators seek answers as to was monitoring illegal alien charged in drunk driving death of Iowa woman


This news story was published on April 27, 2016.
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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate delegations from Iowa and Nebraska are seeking details on the Obama Administration’s decision to place an unaccompanied minor immigrant in the care of his older brother, who was illegally residing in the United States. Edwin Mejia entered the country as a minor, was transferred out of federal custody, and is now a fugitive charged in an Omaha drunk driving incident that killed 21-year-old Iowan Sarah Root.

“We are deeply concerned that an unaccompanied alien minor, Edwin (a.k.a. “Eswin”) Mejia, was released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to a sponsor who was reportedly in the United States illegally. We would appreciate a better understanding of what happened in light of the fact that Mejia, now almost 20 years old, has since been charged with a crime resulting in the death of a U.S. citizen, absconded from authorities, and remains a fugitive at-large,” Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Nebraska Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

The Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for placing unaccompanied minor immigrants with adult sponsors who live in the United States. The Department is also responsible for conducting background checks on potential sponsors prior to placing minors under their supervision. However, a recent Government Accountability Office report reveals that the Department fails to routinely and thoroughly conduct background checks of potential sponsors to determine whether they are suited to supervise a minor.

The Senators are seeking details on the steps the Department took to ensure that Mejia’s brother, Santos Jesus Romero-Mejia, was qualified to be responsible for the care of a minor, as well as whether the Department has maintained any communication with the brothers after Mejia was placed with Romero-Mejia. The Senators have also raised concern that the Department of Homeland Security didn’t consider Mejia to be an enforcement priority. They have not received full responses to those inquiries.

Grassley, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees immigration policy, has raised concerns about inadequate background checks, including skipped child abuse and neglect checks, that leave unaccompanied minor immigrants in the care of criminals, according to whistleblower reports.

Mejia, Edwin

Mejia, Edwin

Text of the Senators’ letter to Secretary Burwell follows:

April 26, 2016

The Honorable Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Secretary
Department of Health and Human Services
Washington, DC 20201

Dear Secretary Burwell:

We are deeply concerned that an unaccompanied alien minor, Edwin (a.k.a. “Eswin”) Mejia, was released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to a sponsor who was reportedly in the United States illegally. We would appreciate a better understanding of what happened in light of the fact that Mejia, now almost 20 years old, has since been charged with a crime resulting in the death of a U.S. citizen, absconded from authorities, and remains a fugitive at-large.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Mejia entered the country illegally on May 14, 2013, near Nogales, Arizona. At that time, Customs and Border Protection arrested Mejia and served him a Notice to Appear. On May 17, 2013, Mejia was placed by HHS, via the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), at the David and Margaret Youth and Family Services facility in Los Angeles, California. On June 28, 2013, Mejia was released into the custody of his brother, Santos Jesus Romero-Mejia, who resided in Madison, Tennessee. According to ICE, the ORR reunification packet includes information stating that “Edwin Mejia claims that his brother is ‘illegal.’”

Edwin Mejia was arrested on January 31, 2016, in Omaha, Nebraska, and charged with drag racing, driving under the influence, and killing 21-year old Sarah Root in a car accident. Mejia’s blood alcohol limit at the time of the accident was more than three times the legal limit. Sarah Root had graduated that evening from Bellevue University with perfect grades and was on her way home.

Mejia, who had twice failed to appear in court on state charges, was released on bond and absconded. His whereabouts are still unknown.

Because Mejia was an unaccompanied minor at the time he crossed the border, HHS was in charge of his care and placement while in the United States. Given the findings by the Government Accountability Office that your Department does not adequately monitor its grantees and has failed to routinely conduct background checks, including fingerprinting all sponsors or completing child abuse and neglect checks on relative sponsors[1], we would like to know what information your Department had on Mejia’s sponsor before releasing Mejia into his custody. Moreover, we would like to know whether HHS had any further contact with Mejia once he was placed with his sponsor. Therefore, we ask that your Department respond to the following questions related to this case no later than May 11:

1. Why was Edwin Mejia placed at the David and Margaret Youth and Family Services facility in Los Angeles?

2. How many individuals applied to be a sponsor for Edwin Mejia? Please provide details and any document related to each applicant, including information such as name, relationship, address, and a copy of the application submitted.

3. What specific background or biometric checks were done on the sponsor applicants before Edwin Mejia was transferred to the custody of his brother, Santos Jesus Romero-Mejia?

4. Who performed the background check for Mejia’s sponsor – HHS or a contractor? If a contractor, please provide the name.

5. Was Mejia released under any kind of an agreement, probation, or order of supervision?

6. How was Edwin Mejia physically transferred from California to the custody of his brother who supposedly resided in Tennessee?

7. What is the Department’s current policy on fingerprinting the sponsors of unaccompanied minors? If parents and other immediate relatives are not required to undergo biometric checks, please explain why.

8. After Mejia’s placement, did HHS have any further contact with him or his sponsor?

In addition to answering these questions, please provide any document related to Edwin Mejia, including all notes, documents, applications and correspondence included therein.

We appreciate your cooperation and await your response.

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10 Responses to Iowa, Nebraska Senators seek answers as to was monitoring illegal alien charged in drunk driving death of Iowa woman

  1. Avatar

    Ventura Vince Reply Report comment

    May 1, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Put bounty’s on them that is illegal, we the people we got the right to make citizen arrest’s. If they sneak back in, lock them up for 10 years make them work. No work, no Taco Tico. Teach them to not break our laws, this one that killed this girl, he needs a rope.

  2. Avatar

    Reality Check Reply Report comment

    April 27, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Grassley is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees immigration policy. Once again….. do your job Chuck! No finger pointing on this once…… you own it.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 27, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Obama and the Loony Lefty’s are the ones who own this kind of crap. Obumer uses his executive authority to override our laws and the Lefty’s voted the criminal in.

      • Avatar

        The truth hurts Reply Report comment

        April 27, 2016 at 5:07 pm

        Grassley stopped Obama in his tracks by denying him the Constitutional authority to present a nominee to SCOTUS. With that much power the old geezer from IA should be able to stop the kids swimming across the Rio Grande River. He chairs (and sleeps thru) the committee responsible for Immigration Enforcement.

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          April 27, 2016 at 6:11 pm

          He probably naps because he knows it will be over ruled by executive order any way by the criminal Obumer, who should have been impeached long ago.

          • Avatar

            Phil

            April 27, 2016 at 6:36 pm

            Don’t let facts get in the way for a reason to show irrational hatred towards President Obama.
            You far right wing wackadoos would make me laugh were you not so pathetic.

            Executive Orders per year by President since 1980
            Ronald Reagan – 47.6
            GHW Bush – 41.5
            Bill Clinton – 45.5
            George W Bush – 36.4
            Barack Obama – 33.6
            Well lo & behold, look at which guy has the lowest number!

            You tighty righties need to get your information from places other than Rush Limbaugh, FOX News or other such nonsensical places.

          • Avatar

            Anonie

            April 28, 2016 at 12:40 am

            The numbers are meaningless. Proclaiming National Rat Day does not have the same impact as limiting gun rights or opening our borders to whomever.

          • Avatar

            Anonymous

            April 28, 2016 at 7:54 am

            Don’t worry about Phil’s comments. He is a Loony Lefty communist who should be run out of the country with his god the Muslim Obumer.

  3. Allen

    Allen Reply Report comment

    April 27, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Imagine that, I as an American citizen since birth, and never a threat to society, had to have a back ground check before I could adopt my grand children. And this vermin, gets away with murder. I’ll bet him and his illegal brother had a good laugh when he was released.

  4. Avatar

    the real fred Reply Report comment

    April 27, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Harumph, harumph……..in the end nothing will happen.

    Thanks again, Obama.