A 24-year-old Nipomo man arrested for allegedly stabbing his girlfriend to death had been deported from the United States nine months before the murder, according to Federal immigration officials.
SLO County Sheriff’s Office deputies took Julio Caesar Alonso into custody May 31 after they discovered the body of his girlfriend, identified as 24-year-old Paulina Ramirez-Diaz in a home in the 600 block of Pomeroy Avenue in Nipomo. According to sheriff’s officials, Ramirez-Diaz was found inside the home with a stab wound to her neck.
In a statement to New Times, a spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that the agency’s agents first encountered Alonso in December 2015 while he was serving time in an unspecified California prison. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Alonso had been serving a four-year sentence for evading arrest, possession of a controlled substance, burglary, vandalism, and driving under the influence. ICE initiated deportation proceeding against Alonso, and an immigration judge ordered that he be returned to Mexico on Aug. 16 of 2016.
“He was deported to Mexico that same day,” ICE officials said in a written statement.
In an interview with the Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs shortly after his 2016 deportation, Alonso indicated he first came to the United States when he was 7 years old. He also said that he had a girlfriend and young son who lived in Santa Maria, but did not specify who they were. The article ends with Alonso in Mexico and notes that his only option for re-entry into the U.S. would be cross the border illegally.
“I’m going to try to make a life here, get a job and an apartment, and have my son be able to visit,” Alonso told the Desert Sun.
ICE did not have any information on when Alonso came back into the country.
With Alonso now sitting in SLO County Jail, ICE said it issued an immigration detainer against him.
“The detainer requests that local authorities notify ICE prior to his release to enable the agency to take custody to pursue further administrative immigration enforcement action,” ICE’s statement read.
But not all of the country’s county jails are willing to honor those detainers. Regular reports by the agency contain a running list of law enforcement agencies that, to varying degrees, have enacted or voiced policies that ICE deems “uncooperative” with the agency’s mission.
The SLO County Jail is included on ICE’s list. According to the agency’s most recent report, the SLO County Sheriff’s Office will not hold an inmate with an ICE detainer past his or her release date.
“If the inmate becomes release eligible (posts bail, court ordered release, time served, etc.) the Sheriff’s Office does not have the authority to hold the inmate past his or her scheduled release date,” Sheriff’s Spokesman Tony Cipolla wrote in an email response to questions from New Times.
Undocumented immigrants and crime have become hot-button issues in the wake of the 2016 election, with the incoming administration of President Donald Trump, who sought to make good on campaign promises to crack down on illegal immigration in a January 2017 executive order.
Alonso was arraigned on a felony murder charge in SLO County Superior Court June 7. His case remains ongoing.