Carrollton child murder suspect crossed border more than once

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on November 2, 2011 at 10:54 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 3 at 12:37 PM

CARROLLTON — Jose Sifuentes, the man accused of murdering a 10-year-old girl in Carrollton, illegally crossed into the United States on multiple occasions before his most recent arrest.

Records obtained by News 8 show that Carrollton police arrested Sifuentes in April 2009 in a traffic stop. He faced charges including minor in possession of alcohol and driving without a license and insurance. Officers turned him over to immigration officials because of his illegal status.

Sifuentes was granted "voluntary return," an option given to some illegal immigrants with no serious criminal history on record.

He went back to Mexico, but he didn't stay long.

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Sifuentes was caught trying to illegally enter the U.S. that same month, and then again in May 2009. All three times he was granted "voluntary return."

"It tells me that it's continual, that's it's a pattern, and it's not going to stop," said Dallas immigration attorney Michelle Scopellite.

Sifuentes didn't stop trying.

He finally was able to get back into the U.S., but  News 8 was not able to determine how and when he returned.

For Scopellite, the case shows how difficult enforcement at the border is, and that more safeguards are needed needed to slow down border crossings.  

"We are left with a situation of somebody who has entered three times illegally and been removed twice —  and then something like this happens," Scopellite said. "It's a real travesty."

While Scopellite believes ICE and Border Patrol agents did the best they could, she wonders why they didn't hand down tougher consequences after Sifuentes' border arrests.

"Why didn't they go into the process of going through an 'order of removal,' since he had already been given 'voluntary departure'?  And hopefully, the next time they caught him, he would have served some federal time," Scopellite said. "That never happened, and they gave him 'voluntary removal' every time."

On Wednesday night, the community of Carrollton came together for a vigil to support the parents of Jasmen Gonzalez. They attended the vigil and didn't want to talk about the loss of their daughter, but they did share a few words. They also thanked the community.

"I don't want to talk right now. This tragedy that has happened to us, it hasn't been easy," said Jasmen's mother, Elvira Hernandez. "I hope you understand. Thank you."

The family set up an account for funeral expenses at Chase Bank. Donations can be made at any branch under Jasmen Gonzalez's name.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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