64-year-old Marilyn Pharis was sleeping in her home in Santa Maria, California on July 24 when 29-year-old Victor Aureliano Martinez Ramirez and 20-year-old Jose Villagomez broke in. The two men sexually assaulted, strangled, and repeatedly struck Pharis in the head with a hammer. She died eight days later.
Martinez Ramirez, it turns out, was in the U.S. illegally. Not only that, he had been arrested just two weeks before he murdered Pharis for possession of methamphetamine.
This arrest was Martinez Ramirez’s sixth in 15 months. Yet, all he received was a citation.
Why? Santa Maria police chief Ralph Martin explained that his department does not have the authority to hold suspects in custody because of their illegal immigration status, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) never provided a federal order to keep Martinez Ramirez in custody on an immigration hold as required by current law.
According to Martin:
We had to cite him out. That’s the problem with this system. This is not just in Santa Maria, this is all over the state of California and all over the United States.
This is a national issue. I think it starts in Washington DC with this administration that we see and these policies, I think you can draw a direct line over to Sacramento with the policies I’m going to say with this Governor and the Legislature. We’ve seen AB 109 passed, we’ve seen Prop 47 passed. . . .
[F]rom Washington DC to Sacramento there’s a blood trail leading to the bedroom of Marilyn Pharis.
There is, indeed, and I think it helps explain why Donald Trump has made so much headway.