Immigration and Customs Enforcement apprehended an illegal alien on Wednesday who was charged with assaulting New York City Police Department officers earlier this month.

Brayan Freites-Macias, a 21-year-old Venezuelan national, was previously apprehended by authorities on six separate occasions. However, each time, local jurisdictions ignored the immigration detainer handed down and released him from custody.

“Brayan Freites-Macias has displayed a history of violence and represented a threat to the residents of New York City,” Kenneth Genalo, director of the Enforcement and Removal Operations field office in New York City, stated in a Thursday press release.

“Any time local jurisdictions refuse to honor ICE detainers, they put the public at risk,” he continued. “ERO New York City will continue to prioritize public safety by apprehending and removing these egregious offenders from our community.”

Customs and Border Protection first apprehended Freites-Macias in December 2023 after he unlawfully entered the United States through El Paso. He received a court notice and was then released into the U.S.

Later that same month, Freites-Macias was charged again, this time for petit larceny in Staten Island. He was later convicted of the crime and sentenced to a conditional discharge.

NYPD arrested Freites-Macias in January on the charge of criminal trespass and twice in April for charges related to an alleged robbery, including the intent to cause physical injury to police officers.

ERO finally issued an immigration detainer for Freites-Macias on April 9. However, the New York City Department of Correction refused to honor the detainer and released him from custody on April 22.

Later that day, Freites-Macias was once again arrested, this time on grand larceny charges. ERO issued another immigration detainer against him, which was similarly shot down by the city.

ERO officers have now apprehended Freites-Macias as of April 24. He is scheduled to remain in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.

Victor Avila, a former Homeland Security Investigations special agent, emphasized to Texas Scorecard that the current system of catch-and-release is ineffective in addressing cases like that of Freites-Macias.

“Law enforcement officials keep on using the word ‘arrested.’ It’s not really arrested—maybe ‘detained’—but they’re not really arrested,” Avila said. “In my world, when you arrest somebody, they are being prepped for prosecution, and that is not what is happening here.”

“They are encountered at the border because most of them are turning themselves into Border Patrol, but there is no adequate vetting to determine exactly what an individual’s agenda is,” he added. “What are they coming to do here in the U.S.?”

Luca Cacciatore

Luca H. Cacciatore is a journalist for Texas Scorecard. He is an American Moment inaugural fellow and former welder.