Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley has sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson demanding to know why an illegal alien who was working as a camp counselor, charged with child molestation and with distributing nearly 1000 images of child pornography, may have avoided deportation under President Obama’s deferred action program (DACA).
“This month, I write to you again about another potential DACA recipient who has allegedly distributed and possessed hundreds of images of child pornography and who has used his position at a summer camp, employment he may have legally obtained only with employment authorization he achieved as a DACA recipient, to molest and victimize the children he was tasked with helping. Recent press accounts have reported that Edgar Covarrubias-Padilla, a night counselor at a popular science camp in California was charged with sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy along with distribution and possession of child pornography. Mr. Covarrubias-Padilla allegedly applied for and received deferred action under the DACA program. On Monday, Covarrubias was charged with four felonies, which included possession and distribution of more than 600 child porn images and a charge for lewd and lascivious act with a child under 14,” the letter states (bolding is mine). “The Santa Clara County Office of Education confirmed that Mr. Covarrubias-Padilla worked at two campsites over the past two years in various capacities that involved contact with children. According to news accounts, since this story broke last week, the Santa Clara Sheriff’s office has received over 100 calls and 50 emails from concerned parents. Reportedly, at least some of these calls are from parents who believe that their children were among Mr. Covarrubias-Padilla’s victims.”
According to Grassley and cited whistleblowers, Covarrubias-Padilla was scheduled for deportation but approved for DACA and a work permit in October 2012. Further, it seems DHS was aware his heinous behavior and allowed him to stay in the country anyway, jeopardizing the safety and well being of the children he was working with.
“Mr. Covarrubias-Padilla also allegedly filed an application for employment authorization in October of 2012 that was approved with validity until May of 2015. The Committee has received reports that on November 17, 2014, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed a note in Mr. Covarrubias-Padilla’s record that indicated that he was part of an ongoing investigation for exploiting children and distributing child pornography. Mr. Covarrubias-Padilla has been employed at the camp for the last two years,” Grassley wrote (bolding is mine). “These allegations are deeply troubling because, if true, they suggest that DHS was aware for months or years that Mr. Covarrubias-Padilla posed a public safety threat to the children he was monitoring, yet took no action to revoke his DACA authorization. Of note, news sources have reported that the Santa Clara Sherriff’s Office initiated Mr. Covarrubias-Padilla’s arrest after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) contacted them with concerns about Mr. Covarrubias-Padilla’s involvement in child exploitation and child pornography. These reports raise significant questions concerning the coordination of ICE and USCIS, in regards to DACA recipients. These allegations are particularly alarming because they suggest that Mr. Covarrubias-Padilla would not have been placed in a position to abuse and exploit children had DHS properly vetted DACA recipients.”
Over the past two months, Grassley has written two letters to Secretary Johnson with inquiries about other criminal illegal aliens. Emanuel Rangel-Hernandez, who was charged with four counts of first-degree murder in North Carolina, and Jose Bojorquez who was recently charged with second degree murder. Rangel-Hernandez and Bojorquez were both scheduled for deportation but were able to staying in the United States thanks to, again, President Obama’s DACA program.
Secretary Johnson has been asked to respond to a series of questions about Covarrubias-Padilla and how this happened by May 29.