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Press Release

United States Attorney Addresses Topic of Sanctuary Cities

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska

United States Attorney Joe Kelly touted increased public safety as a result of cooperation among law enforcement agencies Monday during a press conference addressing the lack of so-called “sanctuary jurisdictions” in Nebraska. Attendees also included Shawn Byers, Acting Field Office Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in St. Paul, Minnesota, which oversees Nebraska; Eric Ouellette, Assistant Field Office Director, ICE Omaha; Greg Jensen, Assistant Field Office Director, ICE Omaha; and James Webb, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations Omaha.  All are with various components of ICE.

Kelly advised that immigration authorities in Nebraska, unlike in some other states, enjoy excellent cooperation between federal and state authorities when dealing with offenders who are found to be in the United States illegally.  Kelly reported that in the District of Nebraska, immigration authorities routinely receive timely notice and assistance when undocumented offenders are encountered by law enforcement and/or correctional facilities.  The cooperation between state and federal authorities has made it possible to remove many dangerous offenders from the community before additional crimes could be committed.  Kelly noted several cases, (summaries accompany this release), where aliens arrested and convicted of serious offenses such as first degree sexual assault and sexual assault of a child, were seamlessly transferred from the custody of state authorities to the custody of federal authorities who promptly removed them from the country.  According to U.S. Attorney Kelly, “Public safety is paramount and the solid cooperation that exists between authorities at every level in Nebraska allows us to have a safer state.  If local authorities did not cooperate with federal officials like they do, it is a certainty that many dangerous offenders would have been released to the streets of Nebraska rather than removed from the country.” 

Shawn Byers, Acting Field Office Director for ICE St. Paul, which oversees Nebraska, added “Cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies is quite simply the most effective way of promoting public safety.  Sanctuary city policies simply don’t work. Instead of promoting public safety, sanctuary policies put the lives of our communities’ residents at greater risk. The District of Nebraska has no communities that identify as sanctuary jurisdictions.   As such, the public is more secure as a direct result of cooperation between law enforcement agencies in this District.”

Further information can be obtained from Shawn Neudauer, Public Affairs Officer, ICE Spokesman, St. Paul, Minnesota, (612) 843-8985.


Convicted Aliens Removed After First Contact with State Authorities

  • Elvin SIBRIAN-Monge
    • Entered without inspection and found to have no immigration status
    • 2018 - Arrested in Sarpy County for sexual assault on a child in the first degree.  Immigration detainer filed.
    • 2019 – Convicted of third degree sexual assault of child and sentenced to the state penitentiary.  Immigration detainer followed him.
    • Came to ICE custody on 01/03/2020
    • Deported to El Salvador on 01/20/2020
  • Javier VELASQUEZ-Velazquez
    • Found with long-expired temporary work permit and no current immigration status
    • 2006 – convicted in Lancaster County of burglary, attempted first degree sexual assault, and attempted robbery, and sent to the state penitentiary. 
    • ICE filed detainer with the state in 2009.
    • Came to ICE custody on 11/01/2019.
    • Deported to Mexico on 11/13/2019.
  • Gonzalo LOPEZ-Rios
    • Entered without inspection and later found with no immigration status
    • 2018 – Lancaster County arrest for first degree sexual assault.  Immigration detainer filed.
    • 2019 – Convicted and sent to state penitentiary and the detainer followed.
    • Came to ICE custody on 10/31/2019
    • Deported to Mexico on 11/06/2019.
  • Juleio LOPEZ-Cayax
    • Entered without inspection and later found to have no immigration status
    • Hall County conviction for third degree sexual assault of a child.  ICE filed a detainer.
    • Sent to the state penitentiary and the ICE detainer followed.
    • Came to ICE custody on 10/09/2019.
    • Deported to Guatemala on 10/18/2019.
  • Jose MENDES-Hernandez
    • Entered without inspection and found to have no immigration status
    • 2018 –Arrested for terroristic threats and use of a weapon to commit a felony.  Immigration detainer filed due to a previous conviction for attempted robbery.
    • Came to ICE custody on 01/08/2019
    • Deported to Honduras on 02/08/2019


Aliens Prosecuted Federally Following an Illegal Reentry

Reentering the United States after being deported is a felony under federal law, punishable by up to 20 years in prison depending on the alien’s criminal record.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutes those found to have illegally reentered the United States and been arrested in Nebraska.

    • This past fall, ICE arrested an individual in Harvard, NE who had been deported in 2010.  This individual had been convicted of robbery in 2008, and had known gang affiliations.  ICE and the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted him for illegal reentry, and he is currently serving a 10-month sentence.  He will be deported again following his discharge from prison.
    • Just last month, Merrick County authorities arrested an individual that had been deported from the United States twice, with four previous convictions for driving without a license, four for other traffic violations, and other convictions for assault on a female, intoxicated and disruptive behavior, and visa or document fraud, as well as illegal entry into the U.S.  This person is currently being prosecuted in Nebraska for illegally reentering the United States after deportation, and will likely serve a prison sentence before being deported to Mexico.
    • Last year, ICE arrested an individual here in Omaha during a vehicle stop.  This individual had previously been convicted of manslaughter and deported from the United States.  He was prosecuted here in Omaha and is currently serving a 15-month sentence for illegal reentry after deportation. 
ICE 2019 National Statistics


Updated February 14, 2020