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  1. #1
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    Suspect in boy's slaying avoided deportation

    Suspect in boy's slaying avoided deportation

    Jaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Friday, November 14, 2008

    (11-13) 18:44 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- A teenager accused of stabbing a 14-year-old boy to death in a gang-motivated attack had been given sanctuary from deportation under San Francisco's previous practice of shielding young illegal immigrant felons from federal authorities, records show.

    Rony Aguilera, 17, known as "Guerrillero," has been charged as an adult in the July 31 sword attack in the Excelsior neighborhood that killed Ivan Miranda, who police say was an innocent victim caught up in an act of gang vengeance. Authorities believe Aguilera is an illegal immigrant from Honduras, but he was never referred to federal officials after being arrested last year in an assault case, according to records reviewed by The Chronicle.

    Aguilera is the second person this year to be charged with murder in San Francisco after having been protected from possible deportation under city officials' now-discarded interpretation of a sanctuary ordinance that barred agencies from cooperating with federal efforts to round up illegal immigrants.

    In June, Edwin Ramos, now 22, an alleged illegal immigrant from El Salvador who compiled a record of gang-related crimes as a juvenile, was accused of fatally shooting Anthony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, in their car in the Excelsior.

    Police believe that, like Ramos, Aguilera is a member of the MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha) gang. He and 16-year-old Marlon Rivera were arrested last month and accused of killing Ivan on July 31 as the boy was walking to a friend's house to return an iPod he had borrowed. Rivera also has been charged as an adult with murder. Both are scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 26. Aguilera's attorney, Theresa Marks, had no comment, other than to say that juvenile records reviewed by The Chronicle in Aguilera's case are confidential and that it is a misdemeanor to release them.

    Earlier assault

    At the time of the killing, Aguilera had been released from probation stemming from a gang-related assault that occurred when he was 16. Police said he had been identified as an MS-13 member at the time.
    Authorities said Aguilera and another member of the gang assaulted a 16-year-old boy at Hill and Valencia streets in the Mission District on the afternoon of June 27, 2007. The victim was with friends when young men approached and demanded to know whether they were affiliated with a gang. Two assailants attacked the victim, kicking and beating him. He was treated at San Francisco General Hospital.

    Aguilera was later identified as one of the attackers by the victim as well as two other witnesses, records of the case show. He was taken to Juvenile Hall and, the following month, admitted to assault and gang charges before a juvenile court judge, records show.

    Authorities now say they believe he was in the country illegally from Honduras. But San Francisco juvenile authorities had long ordered their probation officers not to consider defendants' immigration status, under the Juvenile Probation Department's interpretation that such a move would violate the sanctuary city law.

    As a result, Aguilera was not referred to federal immigration officials.
    Instead, a juvenile court judge decided that he would live with his parents in Houston while being informally monitored from San Francisco, according to authorities with knowledge of the case. A judge terminated his probation in December 2007. This year, he was back in the city.

    Policy shift

    In early July, after The Chronicle reported that the city had shielded dozens of young felons from deportation, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said the sanctuary law did not protect adult or juvenile criminals. Mayor Gavin Newsom declared that he had ordered juvenile justice officials to report illegal immigrant offenders to federal authorities.

    Since then, the mayor has pledged a "top-to-bottom" review of the city's sanctuary policies and practices. His office did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.

    Federal officials put an immigration hold on Aguilera after he was accused of killing Ivan, who was slain less than a month after Newsom publicly announced the city's policy shift. Aguilera is also being held on $2 million bail. The city's former policy is the subject of a federal grand jury investigation. It is also at the heart of a legal case being developed by the Bologna family, which filed a claim against the city in August after Ramos' background was publicized. The claim, which the city denied last month, is the likely precursor to a lawsuit.

    Revenge mission

    According to police accounts, Ivan was stabbed on a street in the Excelsior neighborhood a few hours after the relative of an MS-13 member was wounded in a shooting. Gang members blamed the rival Norteņo group, and several went looking for Norteņos to attack, investigators said.
    Ivan had no connection to the Norteņos, police said, but the gang members attacked him anyway as he talked with two friends at the corner of Madrid and Persia streets.

    The boy was stabbed with what police described as a Japanese-style sword and was robbed of the iPod he was returning to his friend. When he tried to run, two assailants chased him down and stabbed him through the neck, nearly decapitating him, police said.

    His sister said Ivan, known as Little Mejo, was a well-behaved boy who knew at least one of the murder suspects, Rivera, as a troublemaker who got kicked out of Mission High. The boy had nothing to do with the Norteņos or any other gang, she said. The sister, who asked not to be identified by name because she fears for her safety, said youths who come to the United States and join gangs should not be allowed to stay here if they commit crimes. "They should be arrested - they only are doing bad things to other people," she said. "Ivan was only 14 years old. They are 16, 17, 18. That's bad. They should be deported to their country."
    Hours after Ivan was killed, suspects in the case met up with a federal informant who secretly taped the meeting. Aguilera told the informant, "We stabbed the son of a bitch," according to a transcript of the conversation. "There is no problem with this homeboy anymore," he said later. Ivan's sister said the boy never had a chance in the street confrontation. "Ivan was a kid. Ivan didn't have anything to protect himself," she said. "If they want to take an iPod, why should they be killing him? I don't understand that part."

    The story so far

    How San Francisco came to protect juvenile undocumented immigrant felons from possible deportation, and steps the city has taken.
    Origins: In 1985, San Francisco declared itself a sanctuary city for immigrants seeking asylum from right-wing governments in El Salvador and Guatemala. Four years later, the city extended the policy to all immigrants and indicated that the city could not use its resources to help federal immigration law enforcement, except when required by federal law.
    Criminals: In 1992 and 1993, the legislation was altered to allow law enforcement to report felony arrests of suspected undocumented immigrants to federal authorities. In 1994, the city attorney said juveniles booked on felony charges were not exempt from being reported.
    Reinterpretation: Sometime in the 1990s, San Francisco officials began interpreting the ordinance along with state juvenile law as preventing them from referring undocumented immigrants in the juvenile justice system to federal authorities for deportation.

    Free flights: Rather than send juvenile offenders through the deportation system, which could result in their being legally barred from ever returning to the United States, juvenile probation officials flew some directly to their homelands. Such flights were halted in May after federal officials complained.

    Group homes: Still not wanting to turn over undocumented immigrant offenders for deportation, juvenile justice officials in May started sending young offenders to unlocked group homes. Most quickly escaped. Mayor Gavin Newsom said in July that he had ordered the practice halted.
    S.F. shifts gears: In July, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said that nothing in the sanctuary city law prevents officials from turning over undocumented immigrant juveniles who commit felonies to federal immigration authorities. Newsom said the city had started cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    Edwin Ramos: As the city began changing its policies, The Chronicle reported that Edwin Ramos, accused of killing three members of a family on an Excelsior district street June 22, was an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador who had twice been in San Francisco's juvenile justice system but had never been referred to federal authorities.
    Grand jury probe: In early October, city officials said a federal grand jury was investigating whether San Francisco's sanctuary policies violate U.S. laws against harboring people who are in the country illegally.
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  2. #2
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    I'm surprised but gratified to see that the Chronicle has taken the front seat on this issue, and kept it in the public eye.
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  3. #3
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    It absolutely tears me up to read about kids being killed (if they are innocent -- I dont care if it's a gang member that is killed).
    Arm the sheep!

  4. #4
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    Done properly, we call this a twofer. You get rid of one scum of the earth and lock up another. What could possibly be better than that.

    Car 4
    I would like my country back. I used to believe that one man could never destroy this country. Not so sure anymore!

  5. #5
    CTR man's Avatar
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    And now we see again how screwed up San Francisco is. Is deporting these morons really the answer? When in some cases they just come right back over the border again? Especially MS-13? Either execute these sub-humans or put them in prison for a long ass time. Sanctuary City, pfft. I am beginning to hate sanctuary cities almost as much as I hate gangbangers.

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