Immigration suspect released by Middlesex jail commits more crimes, police say
SOUTH PLAINFIELD — A man who was arrested and quickly released from the Middlesex County jail — despite a request by federal immigration officials that the jail hold him — went on to commit at least two more burglaries before he was caught again, police say.
Douglas Baudriz-Diaz is not the only suspect that the Middlesex County jail has released despite federal detainer requests, highlighting the tension between federal and local officials over enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws.
In April, the Middlesex jail released Honduran national Elder Antonio Quintero Rodriguez wihout notifying immigration officials, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said. Rodriguez has a conviction of child abuse.
Under President Donald Trump, ICE has pursued a policy of naming and shaming local jails and jurisdictions that do not to cooperate with ICE detainer requests.
A number of cities and counties across the country — including Jersey City, Newark and Middlesex County — have adopted what some call “sanctuary” policies, which usually means that local police and resources are not used to enforce federal immigration laws.
But even counties that do want to cooperate with ICE sometimes find themselves at odds with the feds.
The Department of Homeland Security and ICE issue the detainers for suspects they believe could be candidates for deportation.
But unlike court orders or warrants, ICE detainers are voluntary. Local law enforcement officials say they don’t want to risk civil rights lawsuits by continuing to hold people who have posted bail or who judges have ordered to be released.
Lawyers and officials also argue that arresting immigrants who show up to court will discourage them from cooperating with law enforcement.
Earlier this month, Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano disputed ICE’s claim that his department did not cooperate by releasing a prisoner before immigration officials could take him into custody. Provenzano, an elected Republican sheriff, said his department spoke with immigration officials to arrange for the man, who had posted bail, to be taken into custody later that day. But ICE later issued a statement blasting the county for being uncooperative even though ICE eventually took the suspect into custody.
In response to the latest case in Middlesex, John Tsoukaris, ICE’s Newark field office director, said: “ICE shares the county's ultimate objective to protect public safety and national security while simultaneously preserving the critical community-police bond; however, counties such as Middlesex that fail to work with ICE in the transfer of custody of criminal aliens place the citizens of their communities at serious risk."
Calls to the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center seeking information on why he was not turned over to ICE after his initial arrest were not returned.
Baudriz-Diaz was arrested May 22 in connection to a burglary on Palmer Avenue in South Plainfield. Although ICE had requested his detainer, the jail let him go after a Superior Court judge ordered his release under the state’s new bail laws.
Twelve hours after his release, police say he broke into another home on 8th Street. Police say they know it was him because they found his court documents in the house.
On May 29, he was arrested in neighboring North Plainfield as he was attempting to burglarize another home, police said.
South Plainfield police said Baudriz-Diaz is a suspect in at least a half dozen burglaries.
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