Santa Maria Police chief testifies about criminal aliens
April 30, 2016
By KAREN VELIE
Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin said Thursday at a congressional hearing that the United States is running a catch and release program for criminal aliens that is putting the public at risk, during his testimony to the Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The purpose of the hearing was to examine the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) policies and procedures related to the release of criminal aliens and to assess the impact those policies have on public safety. During the at times contentious hearing, committee members questioned DHS officials about their policies and procedures.
Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC): “How many drug dealers, how many rapists, how many kidnappers do you let get an ‘out of jail free card?’”
After hearing testimony from family members of murder victims and law enforcement officials, the committee determined that “President Obama’s executive actions on immigration – announced in November 2014 – increase risk to public safety. Arrests, detainers issued, and removals at ICE are down almost 40 percent.”
As a result, “the administration’s policies have led to the release of 86,288 criminal aliens who committed 231,074 crimes since 2013.”
Transcript of Martin’s testimony:
“My name is Ralph Martin and I am the Police Chief for the City of Santa Maria, California. Santa Maria is the largest city in Santa Barbara County, and one of the largest on the Central Coast. It has a population of over 100,000, is a few minutes from the coastline, and is surrounded by agriculture. We are halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“I am here today to share with you an event that occurred just nine months ago. It is about the brutal and vicious attack of 64 year old Santa Maria resident, Marilyn Pharis. At the time of this attack, Ms. Pharis was gainfully employed at nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base where she worked the night shift as a Satellite Tracker Civilian Contractor since 1974. She is also a four-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
“On the morning of July 24, 2015, at approximately 9:45 a.m., while Ms. Pharis was sleeping, two suspects broke into her home,sexually assaulted her, strangled her, and beat her about her head and face with a hammer.
“But despite the incredible beating, Marilyn would not give up. She fought back with all the strength she could muster, even while receiving repeated blows.
“The suspects left her for dead. But somehow, with her eye socket shattered and a broken neck bone, she called 9-1-1.
“As the suspects made their escape, one of them, identified as Victor Martinez-Ramirez, broke into another home on West Donovan Street, entering through a sliding door. There, he encountered three young children and their mother. The mother called 9-1-1, and the suspect fled.
“As officers were responding to Ms. Pharis’ home, additional officers were now responding to the West Donovan Street home. Suspect Martinez starts jumping backyard fences, but the officers set up a solid perimeter around him. Within minutes, one of our K-9 officers finds Martinez hiding underneath a tarp on the patio of a home on Cox Street, three blocks from Ms. Pharis’ home and one block from the Donovan home.
“He was arrested for burglary, sexual assault, and attempted murder.
“During the fourth day of the investigation, detectives identified and arrested the second suspect, Jose Villa Gomez. He was subsequently charged with the same crimes as Martinez.
“Eight days after Ms. Pharis was attacked, she died in her hospital bed, unable to recover from her brutal injuries. Victor Martinez-Ramirez is an illegal alien from Mexico. He had been arrested by the Santa Maria Police Department six times in the previous 15 months. He was released from the Santa Barbara County Jail 96 hours before he attacked Ms. Pharis.
“Villa Gomez is a U.S. Citizen. He had one previous arrest. Both are currently in custody awaiting trial. Whenever the federal or state government fails to do its job, it falls on the shoulders of local government, which is not equipped to deal with the issues, either financially or in dedicating personnel.
“The arrest sheet on Martinez is a glaring example of federal and state failures. On one occasion in 2014, ICE filed a form I-247 Immigration Detainer – Notice of Action.
“However, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department does not recognize this as a lawful hold based on the Miranda-Olivares v. Clackamas County, Oregon Federal Court ruling.
“Two weeks before the attack, Martinez was “cited” as opposed to arrested for possession of meth, because of California’s Prop 47 which I’ll address in a moment.
“On July 16, 2015, eight days before assaulting Ms. Pharis, Martinez was arrested for felony possession of a dirk or dagger, as well as possession of drug paraphernalia. He was additionally charged with two misdemeanors, two $10,000 warrants, failure to appear, and violation of probation.
“There was no ICE detainer submitted during this detention. Four days later in court, the weapon charge was dismissed, a “No Contest” plea entered for drug paraphernalia, and he was released that day. Four days later, he assaulted Ms. Pharis.
“The State of California passed Prop 47 in November 2014. It was a complete con job pulled on the people. Titled “Safe Schools – Safe Neighborhoods” sounds like a fine title. But it was only a title. In the fine print it reduced felony drug possession like heroin, cocaine, meth, etc. to a misdemeanor citable offense. Thousands of arrestees petition the courts to reduce their convictions. So did Martinez.
“The City of Santa Maria, as well as other cities throughout California, are seeing an increase in homeless persons that have high drug dependency. Many of these persons would have been removed from our streets, been required to appear in court, and referred to drug rehabilitation/treatment programs. But, the numbers have substantially decreased in these programs because of California’s Prop 47.
“As our U.S. Marine makes a wrong turn at the border in Tijuana and ends up in a jail cell for months, we in the U.S. are running catch and release programs for criminal aliens.
“I’ve been in this business for over 40 years, and every time I hear the term “senseless tragedy” or “terrible accident,” I cringe. When our federal and state laws are not enforced, all we really have is predicable consequences.”
Video of the hearing:
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