On Sunday, the Durham police arrested Raul Herrera, 31, after he allegedly rammed his vehicle into the rear of a Nissan Maxima driven by 38-year-old Brian Edward Kiley of Goodlettsville, Tenn., which resulted in a rollover crash on I-40 near N.C. 54.
Kiley, a well known stand-up comedian, was driving home after weekend shows at the Holly Springs Cultural Center in Holly Springs, and at the Newton-Conover Auditorium in Newton.
Kiley was pronounced dead at the scene. He left behind a wife and an infant daughter.
Herrera was charged with DUI and booked into the Wake County Jail.
On Wednesday, Herrera's charges were upgraded to felony death by motor vehicle.
Despite the serious charge, Herrera's bail remains at only $50,000.
So, why has bail been issued for someone suspected of killing someone?
On Thursday evening, this reporter spoke with an intake officer at the Wake County Jail and asked that very question.
I was (very reluctantly) told that ICE had not issued a detainer for Herrera.
Now, remember, until Wednesday, the only charge he had against him was a DUI.
The following information may offer some explanation...
In April 2012, the New York Times reported that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, under Obama would no longer issue detainers on illegal aliens who had only been charged with traffic violations.
The Times article read:
Homeland Security officials contended that the new policy on traffic violators could bring a major change in the program’s impact.
As the program spread, more local arrests resulted in immigration holds, and illegal immigrants who did not have criminal convictions found themselves facing deportation because of tickets for speeding, burned-out tail lights or driving without a license.
Under the refinement, when illegal immigrants are arrested solely for traffic offenses and do not have a prior criminal record, federal agents will only consider placing a hold — known as a detainer — after they are convicted.
“ICE agrees that enforcement action based solely on a charge for a minor traffic offense is generally not an efficient use of government resources,” the department response says.
In practice, most traffic violators are released well before they are convicted, and now immigrants stopped by traffic police will not remain in custody to be picked up by federal agents.
Of course, as with everything today, very little information has been divulged to the public concerning Herrera's case. In fact, this reporter was even denied access to his booking photo.
Is Herrera in fact, in the country illegally?
If so, has ICE failed to issue a detainer because of the Obama administration's new lax deportation policies?
The answers to the aforementioned questions are unlikely to ever be offered by what has become the most secretive administration in U.S. history.
However, myself and many others will continue asking those 'inconvenient' questions.
* The following facts should also be noted:
-Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison recently stood with the head of North Carolina's DMV in announcing that beginning in May, driver's licenses will be issued to illegal aliens throughout the state (The suspect is currently being housed in the Wake County Jail.).
-In 2003, the Durham city council adopted a measure known as Resolution #9046 which prohibits police officers from inquiring into anyone's immigration status, unless they are suspected of committing a 'serious crime.'