Diddier Pacheco Salazar is a 22-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico. When he attended a DUI hearing in January, he received some unexpected assistance – from the judge.
Multnomah County Judge Monica Herranz sits on the board of directors of the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association. When she was informed that ICE agents were waiting outside to arrest Salazar, she allegedly helped him escape by leading him to a private exit.
The exact details are unclear, but Salazar managed to escape the courtroom. He was arrested two weeks later.
According to CNN, Salazar has been deported before.
“A young man’s daring escape from capture by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, apparently with the assistance of a local judicial referee, has shocked and divided the Portland legal community,” reports the Willamettee Week.
The situation “demonstrates how everyday court proceedings have mutated, and how tensions have grown within the criminal justice system, as ICE steps up deportations under President Donald Trump.
US Attorney Billy Williams says he is “troubled” by the situation, while Oregon’s Democratic Governor Kate Brown complains that the “uncertainty of immigration policy at the federal level is planting fear and concern in communities throughout Oregon.”
Illegal immigrants make up a full third of America’s federal prison population and are commonly arrested for violent crimes. Anyone helping these individuals, especially those who have committed crimes, should be punished.
ICE agents have decided not to pursue Herranz, but Oregon Judicial Department Chief Judge Nan Waller is leading an internal investigation.
“When you’re talking about the judicial system – whether it’s federal or by state – you have an expectation that people are going to abide by the law and not take steps based on their own motivations, their own politics – whatever the motivation was,” Waller told Fox News.