(CNSNews.com) - The White House on Tuesday called the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl in the boys bathroom of a Maryland high school last week by two male students - one of whom was on an “alien removal” list - “a tragic event” that no one should ever have to deal with.
“I think, first, let me just say that this is a tragic event, and it’s horrendous and horrible and disgusting what this young woman in Rockville went through. I can’t possibly imagine. So first of all, let’s remember the human side of this that this is a tragic event that no child, no person, no parent should ever have to deal with,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.
“Schools should be a place where a parent puts their child on a bus or drops them off or sees them off and knows that they’re safe, and the idea that this occurred is shocking, disturbing, horrific and whatever other words that come to mind,” Spicer said.
He said “schools should be a safe place” where children can learn and feel safe, “and to know that this happened and the circumstances this young woman in particular fought to come to this country legally because of the freedoms and the treasures of this nation, and to think that this kind of tragedy would occur to someone who’s personally endured that kind of struggle to come to this nation and then face this is reprehensible, and it is not who we are as a country.”
As CNSNews.com previously reported, 17-year-old Jose Montano, who came to the U.S. from El Salvador eight months ago and 18-year-old Henry Sanchez-Milian, a Guatemalan citizen who is on an "alien removal case" list, were charged Friday with first-degree rape and first-degree sexual offense for allegedly raping the girl at Rockville High School in Montgomery County, Md.
A reporter pointed out that both young men have outstanding orders with ICE, however schools are prohibited from denying access to public education based on immigration status. “Does the president hear a story like that and think that it should change or be addressed in a future executive order?” a reporter asked Spicer.
“I think it is troubling, and I think further to your question, the president recognizes that education is a state run and a local run issue, but I think it is pause for concern what happened there, and I think the city should look at its policies, and I think that this is something that authorities are going to have to look at,” Spicer said.
Spicer said there are many facets to the case that deserve to be questioned.
“Why was there-- I think he was 17 or 18 years old - 18, thank you - and how does that person get put into the ninth grade? Why was there-- there’s so many issues that come up in this case,” he said. “I will leave it for authorities to get through, but I think we’re in the early stages of this, and there’s a lot that needs to get addressed with respect to this case in particular.”
“So I hear you about it being a state issue, but let’s talk about something that the president has implemented and introduced - VOICE. Is VOICE - Victims of Immigration Crime Enforcement - is that enough to support a 14-year-old?” the reporter asked.
“No, it’s one piece. The president understands that victims need a voice, which is why he brought it in there to help them when they’re specifically targeted for victims of a crime by people who are here illegally, but I think part of the reason that the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this,” Spicer said.
“We act so many times when we talk about this and say … why is the president dealing with this, and because of this priority? Part of the reason is because of the tragedy that this young girl dealt with, had inflicted up on her, whatever the word is, but this is why he’s passionate about this, because people are victims of these crimes” economically and as far as national security,” Spicer said.
The president signed an executive order on Jan. 25 calling for the establishment of the Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens. It directs Immigration and Customs Enforcement to establish an office “to provide proactive, timely, adequate, and professional services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens and the family members of such victims.”
Spicer said immigration takes a toll on U.S. citizens “if it’s not done legally,” and this is another example, and it’s why the president is so passionate about this.
Trump recognizes that it’s a “multi-faceted” problem, and it’s “why we have to be tough on the border,” Spicer said.
He announced there were over 30 pages of cases of detainer requests where local law enforcement refused to comply posted on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.
“If you go to the ICE website and download this, you’ll see it’s over 30-something pages of cases where there’s a person that is convicted of a crime that local municipal law enforcement - for whatever reason, and in some cases they’re prohibited, but for one reason or another are not enforcing the law and not turning that individual over to federal authorities to be deported, and I think this is another example of why this needs to be addressed,” Spicer said.
Montgomery County, Md., has a sanctuary policy where the police deliberately don’t cooperate with ICE. The city of Rockville is considering adopting its own sanctuary policy this week.