DAVENPORT — One of two men who did not appear at a federal court hearing last month because he was in the custody of immigration authorities has been deported to Mexico, court documents show.
Reinaldo Garcia Munoz was one of 32 men arrested May 9 in a raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Mount Pleasant. He was charged with unlawful re-entry, having been deported twice before. He was deported a third time July 3, according to court records.
The other defendant, Elmer Urizar Lopez, still is being held in the Hardin County Jail in Eldora. He, too, is charged with unlawful re-entry, having been deported from the United States once before.
Each of the unlawful entry charges carries a sentence of up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, a $100 special assessment and supervised release ranging from one to two years.
Because the previous deportation orders against Garcia from 2009 and 2013 still stand, he could have been removed at any time under immigration rules and procedures, his attorney, Eric Tindal of Iowa City, said.
But both Tindal and Charles Paul, a certified law student practitioner representing Urizar, argue that in handling these men’s cases, the government can’t have it both ways — prosecute under the judicial branch and carry out deportation under immigration rules of the executive branch.
If operating under the judicial branch, ICE and the attorney general should follow the law on bail, allowing for the release of prisoners awaiting trial, Tindal argued.
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“So when a judge makes a determination that a person should be released, the government has to honor that,” Tindal said. “And it did not.”
In a response filed for Urizar, Paul argued similarly: “The executive branch cannot proceed with both immigration and federal criminal proceedings simultaneously without violating the Bail Reform Act and the U.S. Constitution.”
In his response, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Westphal argued there can be simultaneous criminal and administrative hearings.
He also asked the court reopen the detention hearings against Urizar. A federal judge earlier denied a government motion to detain Urizar — whose teenage son was left without a parent after the raid — and said he would sign a motion for release if certain conditions were met.
Tindal said he hopes this week to file a motion requesting the illegal re-entry charge against Garcia be dismissed with prejudice so it can’t be refiled. The reason is a hope, he said, that Garcia might someday qualify for legal entry.
Garcia’s mother, wife and two children live in the Mount Pleasant area.
Urizar, from Guatemala, is the sole supporter of his 15-year-old son, according to Tammy Shull, chairwoman of an immigrant assistance group based at First Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant.
The three other men who have appeared in federal court in Davenport — Ricardo Macias Saucedo, Elmer Joel Espinal and Oscar Romeo Mota Rivera — have had future court dates set.
Macias’ trial is set for Sept. 4, and Joel’s is Oct. 1. Both are charged with unlawful entry.
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Macias, of Mexico, previously was deported in 2008. He has a wife and two children in Mount Pleasant. Joel, from Honduras, was deported in 2007. His history includes a 2004 conviction in Texas for assault causing bodily injury, according to court documents. He has a wife and two children in the Mount Pleasant area, Shull said.
A hearing for Mota Rivera has been continued until September. He is charged with unlawful re-entry, as well as fraud and misuse of visas and permits, misuse of Social Security numbers and use of identification documents not lawfully issued. Mota Rivera, from Guatemala, was deported in 2015. He has a sister living in the United States, Shull said.
The other 27 men who were arrested in Mount Pleasant did not have previous convictions, so they face civil, not criminal, charges. Of those, most have been released for now although three have been deported.