"Director Sarah Saldana’s response to my February 29 letter is bureaucratic nonsense."

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse took the matter of Edwin Mejia (also known as Eswin Mejia) to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Jeh Johnson after receiving "bureaucratic nonsense" from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Sarah Saldana.

A copy of the Senator's April 4 letter is found below and is available here

Dear Secretary Johnson:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Sarah Saldana’s response to my February 29 letter is bureaucratic nonsense. ICE's response does not attempt to answer why it did not detain an illegal alien who killed an innocent woman and is now on the run as one of ICE’s most wanted.

Director Saldana’s handling of this matter shows no regard for the Root family and continues to be an embarrassment to the hard-working men and women at the Department of Homeland Security. I am referring my questions to your office and look forward to a thorough response as soon as possible.


Senator Ben Sasse

Additional Background: 

Director Saldana's response (available here) provides biographical information on Mejia and speculates on hypothetical situations. However, the response does not answer Sasse's questions about who was responsible for failing to detain Mr. Mejia and why that decision was made. 

Director Saldana's letter states that "based on the facts and circumstances known to ICE at the time, no detainer was filed against Mr. Mejia." Sasse's key questions are aimed at uncovering precisely what those facts and circumstances were. Director Saldana provided no answer. 

To date, Senator Sasse has asked six specific and detailed questions:

1. Who exactly at ICE was responsible for evaluating whether Mr. Mejia was a threat to public safety?
2. Why did ICE decline to detain Mr. Mejia, despite several requests to do so by the Douglas County Police Department? Were each of these requests denied on a case-by-case basis?
3. In its public statement, ICE referenced the November 20, 2014 immigration executive actions. Why does ICE believe that new policy required the agency not to detain Mr. Mejia?
4. Did anyone within ICE consider Mr. Mejia a flight risk? What steps were taken to ensure he did not flee the country?
5. What is ICE doing now to find Mr. Mejia?
6. Do you consider Mr. Mejia to be a threat to public safety?

Senator Sasse's original February 29th letter is available here.

Related Files