County officials say ICE, not their policy, to blame for releasing San Jose homicide suspect

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SAN JOSE — Santa Clara County officials are firing back at critics who say their policy of not notifying immigration authorities when undocumented immigrants are released from their jails led to the release of a homicide suspect who had nine detention orders issued against him.

Carlos Eduardo Arevalo-Carranza, 24, is suspected of stabbing to death Bambi Larson, 59, in her South San Jose home last month. On Tuesday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo criticized the county’s policy of “ignoring requests” by Immigration and Customs Enforcement that inmates about to be released be held until they are picked up  by ICE. But county officials said on Wednesday that federal authorities, not they, were to blame for Arevalo-Carranza’s release.

“ICE should’ve gotten a warrant here. They could’ve gotten a warrant here,” said County Counsel James R. Williams, at a press conference late Wednesday afternoon. “And the county’s practice has always been to honor warrants that are issued.”

The disclosure Tuesday that Arevalo-Carranza is in the United States illegally, and that the county jail ignored six requests by immigration authorities to turn him over — Los Angeles County received three other detention requests from ICE — has renewed criticism that “sanctuary” policies allow serious and violent criminals to slip through the cracks.

Police arrested Arevalo-Carranza on Monday in connection to Larson’s killing. Larson’s body was found in her home on Knollfield Way on the afternoon of Feb. 28.

ICE confirmed Tuesday that Arevalo-Carranza entered the United States illegally in 2013 and had been held at jails in Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties on a number of prior convictions, including drug charges, burglary and one felony false imprisonment charge in 2016.