UPDATE: Statement from Travis County Sheriff Office
Earlier today, media outlet(s) reported a pending release of Inmate Hugo Javier Gallardo-Gonzalez from the Travis County Jail after the posting of a bond. An ICE detainer had been requested and initially declined, since it was not apparent that the noted charge met criteria established by current TCSO Policy. After reviewing the probable cause affidavit submitted for the charge of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child or Children, which was received by booking staff after magistration on the charge, staff learned of the aggravated sexual abuse element contained therein. Actions were immediately taken to reinstate the requested ICE detainer to keep Hugo Gallardo-Gonzalez in custody. He remains in the custody of the Travis County Jail.
The Travis County Sheriff's Office intends to review this matter and consider possible policy modifications to account for similar future issues.
There are only four crimes that Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez thinks are egregious enough to honor an I.C.E. detainer: capital murder, murder, aggravated sexual assault, and human trafficking.
And even though 31-year-old Hugo Javier Gallardo-Gonzalez is being charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a young girl, that wasn’t enough to qualify for an immigration hold.
“Can you imagine anyone, anyone in this country thinking that that is right?” asks Precinct 3 Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty. Daugherty has been an outspoken critic of Sheriff Hernandez' new policy.
“When ICE tells you they want you to put a detainer on a person that they have the legal right to ask you for that,” he says, adding, “you have a mandatory, statutorily reason to comply with that. That's what you did when you took your oath to be an elected official.”
Austin police allege Gallardo-Gonzalez repeatedly sexually assaulted his then girlfriend's young daughter for more than a year starting in 2014. Gallardo-Gonzalez was booked into the Travis County Jail on Sunday. An I.C.E. detainer request was denied. FOX 7 has learned that Gallardo-Gonzalez made bail on Monday and is expected to be released once he is fitted with a G.P.S. tracking device.
“The common every day person could give you a list of things and say if any of these things are done, then I want those people detained,” Daugherty says, adding, “and if they are in this country illegally, I want them sent back to wherever they came from.”
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer request was also denied for Lioncio Garfias Aviles. Austin Police arrested the 45-year-old early Sunday morning. They allege he beat up his girlfriend outside of a bar. Javier Torres-Hernandez’ detainer was denied also. Austin Police have been looking for him since 2014. That's when a father called and reported that Torres-Hernandez had sexually assaulted his 7-year-old daughter twice. Torres-Hernandez was finally picked up on Sunday. In addition to the “indecency with a child charge”, he is also being charged with giving police false information about his identity. Bail has been set for both men.
“Those are crimes that I would guarantee you, if you had that done to a family member, you would certainly find fault at the Sheriff's Office for not complying or not being willing to work with I.C.E.,” says Daugherty. Who adds that as the firestorm continues to grow around Sheriff Hernandez’ refusal to honor the detainers, he is growing impatient with her unwillingness to comply. “I’m put out with it at this stage, it's taken so much of our time to have to deal with these things.”
FOX 7 reached out to Sheriff Hernandez for comment about Gallardo-Gonzalez's pending release but she wasn't immediately available.
Commissioner Daugherty says he is meeting with ICE officials in the coming weeks so they can clear up some of the questions he has about who they are taking into custody, why, and what happens after they are detained.