A judge sentenced a previously deported MS-13 gang member from El Salvador to one year in prison for illegally re-entering the U.S.
U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady handed Fily Giovany Amaya-Martinez the sentence Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Amaya-Martinez, a 36-year-old known member of MS-13, was deported from the U.S. in 2003 after authorities convicted him of an aggravated felony near Washington, D.C. However, he returned to the U.S. in 2009 after being charged with several murders in his home country of El Salvador.
Amaya-Martinez was able to live illegally in the U.S., undetected, for nearly a decade until an anti-gang task force discovered him in 2018.
“Amaya-Martinez fled justice in his home country and defied the laws of this country when he illegally reentered,” said Lyle Boelens, the acting field office director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s enforcement and removal operations in Washington, D.C. “Today’s sentencing answers his defiance. We stand with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in resolute commitment to continue to ensure that our communities are safe from dangerous criminals.”
The chief federal law enforcement officer for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) hailed the case as an example for the need of strong immigration enforcement.
“After allegedly committing multiple murders in El Salvador, this violent MS-13 gang member fled El Salvador and illegally crossed our southern border to get back into the United States,” stated EDVA U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger.
“This case is a prime example of our need for strong borders and why this office continues to prioritize criminal immigration cases. My thanks to the dedicated anti-gang task force agents for their outstanding work on this important case, and for removing this dangerous felon from our community,” Terwilliger continued.
Amaya-Martinez’s sentencing comes as the Trump administration continues to clash with congressional Democrats over immigration and border enforcement.
The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, a five-member board that controls the House of Representatives’ general counsel, voted 3-2 along party lines Thursday to initiate a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration on the southern border. Democrats, with the help of some GOP support, had previously passed a resolution that condemned his border emergency. However, Trump vetoed the resolution and lawmakers were not able to override it.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has also asked Congress to pass a series of measures to alleviate the immigration situation, but with Democrats controlling the House, these requests are not expected to be met.
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