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GOP senators probe lengthy criminal past of illegal immigrant charged with deaths of four officers

Ivan Navejas was an illegal immigrant from Mexico protected initially by the Obama-era DACA program. He recently drove into a group of motorcyclists killing four former and current police officers.

September 3, 2020 10:57am

Updated: September 3, 2020 3:51pm

A group of GOP senators has launched an investigation into an illegal immigrant from Mexico who was never deported despite having a long history of violent behavior and who is now charged in the deaths of four law enforcement officers in a motorcycle club. 

Ivan Robles Navejas stands accused of causing a head-on collision in July that killed four members of the Thin Blue Line Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club in Texas.

Navejas, who has previously faced charges that include assault, drink driving, and resisting arrest, was allegedly intoxicated at the time of the deadly crash. 

In a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Republican lawmakers wrote: "This is not the first time that Mr. Navejas has been accused of committing crimes within our communities. He has faced previous charges including resisting arrest in 2013, driving while intoxicated in 2016, and, most concerning of all, aggravated assault in 2018. We are disturbed by the fact that, despite these egregious charges, Mr. Navejas has been permitted to continue residing in the United States, further endangering our citizens."

Navejas was shielded from deportation when he was granted status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) act in 2013. That status expired in 2015, though Navejas remained in the country, unlawfully.

Despite his 2013 arrest, and 2016 DUI, Navejas was able to obtain a conditional lawful permanent residency because under Obama administration guidance ICE did not find his DUI arrest as sufficient to place him in removal proceedings. 

In 2018, Navejas was then charged with aggravated assault in connection with pinning a man with a vehicle in a parking lot, physically assaulting him, and proceeding to bite off a part of his ear. Because of his conditional lawful permanent residency, which was still active at the time, Navejas was not deported. 

In July 2020, he drove while allegedly intoxicated into the group of motorcyclists riding with the Thin Blue Line Law Motorcycle Club, composed of current and retired law enforcement officers.

According to the senators' letter, the officers killed in the crash included a police sergeant, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, a retired police detective, and a police officer who formerly served as an Army officer.

"As is so often the case, this tragedy was completely avoidable had this nation's immigration laws been enforced as they should have been during the Obama administration," concluded the senators. 

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) have requested all records related to Navejas' immigration and law enforcement encounters to be delivered by Sept. 17.

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