Immigration authorities released man who then murdered three people in Florida

BuzzFeed asks whether Kesler Dufrene might not become Barack Obama’s Willie Horton. Nothing about Dufrene’s story reflects well on U.S. officials:

When burglar Kesler Dufrene became a twice-convicted felon in 2006, a Bradenton judge shipped him to prison for five years. And because of his convictions, an immigration judge ordered Dufrene deported to his native Haiti.

That never happened.

Instead, when Dufrene’s state prison term was up, Miami immigration authorities in October 2010 released him from custody. Two months later, North Miami police say, he slaughtered three people, including a 15-year-old girl …

DNA on a rifle found inside the house and cellphone tracking technology later linked Dufrene to the Jan. 2, 2011, slayings.

But North Miami detectives never got to interrogate him. Just 18 days after the murders, Dufrene shot and killed himself when he was cornered by Manatee County sheriff’s deputies in Bradenton after an unrelated break-in and shooting there. …

The failure to deport Dufrene infuriates the victims’ family members. “This guy shouldn’t have been in America,” said Audrey Hansack, 37, who moved back to her native Nicaragua after the murder of her daughter Ashley Chow. “I’m so upset with the whole situation. Because of immigration, my daughter is not alive.”


So, what was the deal? Why was Dufrene never deported? Because of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Obama administration issued a temporary moratorium on all deportations to the island nation. That decision had at least some validity: Haiti was in a state of emergency and the Haitian government had reduced capabilities to ensure the security of Haitian society as a whole.

The more troubling issue here is that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials couldn’t detain Dufrene until deportations to Haiti resumed. A pair of Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2005 specify that foreign nationals who cannot be deported may not be detained for more than six months. While those rulings make sense in the abstract, they make less sense when applied in a case like Dufrene’s. He was a twice-convicted felon whom ICE officials surely could not have been confident releasing. Surely some kind of an exception could have been invoked here, right? If not, this story is another bleak reminder that overregulation often leads to the underutilization of personal judgment and common sense.

At any rate, the chilling quote from Ms. Hansack serves as a powerful reminder that immigration policy and its enforcement or lack thereof has real and painful consequences.

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