Howard County, MD — The potential release of a convicted rapist has federal immigration officials once again calling on Howard County to walk back strict sanctuary policies. Those policies prevent any cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers.

“This is the perfect kind of case that I’m talking about,” said Maryland ICE Director Matthew Elliston. “This is where public safety hits the road.”

Perfect, in the worst way. Elliston is referring to the recent arrest of 25-year-old Pedro Acevedo-Ibare, an undocumented immigrant accused of breaking into a Howard County woman’s bedroom in the middle of the night. Charging documents say he abducted her at knifepoint while her children were home. Her children then called police, who say Acevedo-Ibare took the mother to a wooded area and raped her. He’s since pled guilty to first-degree rape and kidnapping, both felony charges.

“He’s currently in jail. He was convicted of this crime, but as you know, Howard County will release him when his sentence is up and he’s going to be right back in the community where that victim lives,” said Elliston. “This is an opportunity to see past the politics, look at public safety and say hey, you know what, I don’t want this individual raping another one of my residents.” Elliston is now pleading with Howard County Executive Calvin Ball to add exceptions into the Liberty Act, a strict sanctuary policy Ball spearheaded and helped pass in 2020 that prohibits any local cooperation with ICE agents, no matter the crime committed.

“Do not let him out. You have a chance to say, no,” said Elliston. However, during a recent sit-down with FOX45,  “I think we have legislation that’s working right now for Howard County,” said Ball. In response, a FOX45 reporter questioned Ball, “Child sex offenders, prolific drug dealers, they’re being released back into Howard County, your community, as opposed to being turned over to ICE agents because of a law that you’re doubling down on. Do you agree that’s how things should be handled in Howard County?”

“I agree that when people break the law, they should be held accountable. I also agree that the federal enforcement should enforce federal laws and I agree that local law enforcement should enforce local laws,” he said. Ball’s refusal to hand over any Howard County inmates to ICE is what Elliston fears could ultimately lead this sex offender to lay his hands on more victims. “I think someone is telling him that it would be detrimental to his political career to work with us, but nobody disagrees that you should keep rapists off your streets,” said Elliston.

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