UPDATE: Man arrested in Hamilton County taken into ICE custody
UPDATE: The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office said Edgar Vasquez-Diaz has been taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Matt Lea with the HCSO said ICE took him into custody at the Hamilton County Jail at 8:30 am.
PREVIOUS STORY: The man arrested by Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies for driving under the speed limit is wanted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Edgar Vasquez-Diaz was arrested and charged Friday for violating minimum speed, driving on revoked or suspended license and financial responsibility (no proof of insurance).
His family and immigrant workers rallied outside of the sheriff's office Tuesday begging Sheriff Jim Hammond not to deport Vasquez-Diaz.
A court document shows Vasquez-Diaz was causing a back-up while driving on Suck Creek Road. That's when a deputy pulled him over. The report said Vasquez-Diaz admitted he did not have an ID or proof of insurance. He was charged and taken into custody. Chief Deputy Austin Garrett said that's where Vasquez-Diaz was flagged as an illegal immigrant.
“Someone's status in this country is not determined out on a traffic stop. That is triggered in a corrections facility when you are booked in,” Garrett explained.
Garrett explained that’s when ICE was notified.
“In that process, ICE has the ability to place a hold on the person who is in our correction facility,” he said. “We don't have that authority, and we don't want that authority. That is vested with immigration, and that is where it needs to be.”
An ICE spokesperson, Bryan Cox, told Channel 3 Vasquez-Diaz is in the United States illegally, but his criminal history in Hamilton County put him at a higher risk of deportation.
Court records show Vasquez-Diaz was charged with a DUI in 2005. He was also arrested. The arrest affidavit reveals Vasquez-Diaz admitted to drinking six beers before he rear-ended another vehicle on Bailey Avenue. In 2006, he was charged with violating driver’s license law.
“The fundamental reason why a person is arrested by ICE is due to their immigration status. However, given the limited resources that ICE has, our focus first and foremost is on criminal offenders,” Cox said.
He also mentioned more than 90% of all persons arrested by ICE so far this year have had a criminal history or a pending criminal charge.
Cox said a hold or detainer was issued for Vasquez-Diaz the same day of his arrest. He could not confirm why since Vasquez-Diaz is not in ICE custody.
“The detainer in no way supersedes the criminal charges. That gives ICE a period of time to get there and to take that person into its custody for immigration purposes,” Cox said. “Local law enforcement has absolutely no authority to arrest a person based on immigration status.”
In the meantime, Vasquez-Diaz will remain in custody at the Hamilton County jail.
“Immigration has 48 hours to pick him up. If they don't pick him up by Saturday morning, he will be released back into the community,” Garrett said.
Vasquez-Diaz faced a judge Wednesday morning. A court clerk tells Channel 3, he pleaded guilty to driving without a license and not having proof of insurance. The violating minimum speed charge was dropped.
Channel 3's told Vasquez-Diaz was placed on unsupervised probation and lost his driving privileges for a year. He will stay here at the Hamilton County Jail until ICE determines what happens next. However, ICE says it will be up to the federal court will determine if Vasquez-Diaz will be deported or not.