Illegal Immigrant Witnesses Create A Controversy

Fairfax County Jail/lattatech photo
Fairfax County Jail/lattatech photo

The issue over illegal immigrants continues to cause controversy. But in Fairfax County, just outside Washington, a case is raising even more issues. Some detained immigrants may have witnessed a murder and the government might need to detain them long-term rather than deport them quickly. The case is causing some controversy.

Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
FAIRFAX, Va. – Five men have been sitting in the Fairfax County jail for nearly a month now, although none is charged with a crime. Rather, they might have witnessed a killing. Some of them.
The men are being held as witnesses after the fatal stabbing of Adulio Morales-Bonilla, 36, in Fairfax City last month. Everyone in the case — the victim, the suspect, the witnesses — was in this country illegally. Fairfax City police enlisted the help of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and had the witnesses detained.
But then ICE told police that the witnesses were going to waive deportation hearings and might be returned to their native Honduras within a week. Faced with the possible collapse of their case, police obtained “material witness” warrants against the men and had them jailed without bond, even though the trial might not occur for another year.
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