A Venezuelan man, identified as Jose Leonardo Marquez, was apprehended by Capitol Police at the U.S. Capitol for carrying a machete and a knife, revealing a concerning situation. What adds to the alarm is that Marquez is an illegal immigrant who had been previously released by federal border authorities, as confirmed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Tuesday.
ICE reports that Marquez was arrested on December 27 when Capitol Police found weapons hidden under his clothing. Previously, Border Patrol had detained Marquez on August 21, 2022. But due to limited detention space, he was released and placed in the “Alternatives to Detention” monitoring program.
ICE raised alarms about the potential danger Marquez posed to people in and near the U.S. Capitol. Patrick Divver, the acting field office director of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in Washington, D.C., acknowledged, “The quick response of our partners at the U.S. Capitol Police averted this threat.
ERO now detains Marquez and will undergo removal proceedings.” Notably, Marquez had reported to ICE on October 5 and received a court date. Following his latest arrest, Capitol Police have charged Marquez with possession of a dangerous and prohibited weapon, as reported by ICE.
The incident involving Marquez highlights the ongoing issue of illegal immigration at the southern border, which has reached record highs in recent years. Federal data shows that the number of Border Patrol encounters with illegal migrants exceeded 2 million in fiscal year 2023, following 2.2 million encounters in fiscal year 2022. Furthermore, ICE reported making approximately 3,000 criminal arrests in fiscal year 2023, surpassing the figures from fiscal years 2022 and 2021.
This incident serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by authorities in managing the influx of illegal immigrants and the potential risks associated with releasing individuals without proper detention capacity. It also emphasizes the importance of effective border security measures to ensure citizens’ and immigrants’ safety and well-being.