Rep. Paul Gosar: I’m Wary of ICE Reversal on Releasing Illegal With TB
Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar said Tuesday that he was “cautiously optimistic” about a reversal by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to not release an illegal from detention with drug-resistant tuberculosis into the largest city in Pinal County.
“It is inconceivable that releasing an illegal immigrant that could cause a tuberculosis pandemic here in the U.S. would ever be considered as a possible option,” the two-term Republican said. “I am cautiously optimistic as a result of ICE’s statements that officials are now planning to take appropriate steps to protect Arizonans from being exposed to this fatal, infectious disease.”I will continue to closely monitor this situation and will continue to do everything in my power to prevent illegal immigrants with deadly viruses from being let loose in our communities,” Gosar said.
Gosar and three of the state’s other congressional Republicans — Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick — demanded in a letter Friday that ICE and the Department of Homeland Security not release the illegal into the community from its Florence Detention Center.
Pinal County Health Director Thomas Schryer told Newsmax that the illegal immigrant was a man from Mexico who is “somebody who has started and stopped TB therapy multiple times, which is why he has a drug resistance.” ICE had been treating the man at Florence for about seven months, he said.
Schryer could provide no further information. Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe, an ICE spokeswoman, said on Monday that the agency would not identify the illegal immigrant out of privacy concerns.
ICE “at this time has no plans to release this person from custody,” O’Keefe said in a statement.
“Due to multiple previous repatriations, including a formal removal in 2013, the individual is an ICE enforcement priority.”
The illegal is being held pending a decision by an immigration court judge on whether he should be detained further, deported back to Mexico, or released on bond to the community, she said.
Pinal County Sherriff Paul Babeu also slammed ICE’s plans, telling Newsmax Friday that “you have an obligation, because of the public health concerns, to either hold him in custody or deport him to his country of origin.
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