Urbana man charged with living, voting in U.S. illegally

Urbana man charged with living, voting in U.S. illegally

Questions for Tom? Ask them here

URBANA — A Mexican national who has lived in Urbana since 2005, allegedly using a stolen identity, was arraigned Thursday on seven federal counts, including four related to voting by an illegal immigrant.

Miguel Valencia-Sandoval, 33, who allegedly had been using the identity of a Texas man named Ramiro G. Vasquez, pleaded not guilty to the charges before Magistrate Eric Long at U.S. District Court in Urbana.

Valencia-Sandoval's arraignment came on the same day that new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sworn in, stressing that the nation needs a "lawful system of immigration."

Sessions vowed to uphold immigration laws that he claimed went largely unenforced during the Obama administration. "We need to end this lawlessness that threatens the public's safety, pulls down wages of working Americans," he said. "If you continually go through a cycle of amnesty (for the undocumented), you undermine the respect for the law and encourage more illegal immigration into America."

Federal authorities declined to comment on whether the voting-related charges were tied to President Donald Trump's ongoing claims of illegal voting.

An affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint said that authorities were tipped off to Valencia-Sandoval's real identity last August when the Piatt County sheriff's office was informed that he had been living under Vasquez's name for about 11 years. Valencia-Sandoval most recently has worked for an Urbana drywall contractor.

Last month, Valencia-Sandoval was arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, when he attempted to re-enter the country with a Texas birth certificate and state of Illinois ID card bearing the name of Ramiro Guerrora Vasquez.

During an interview with agents on Jan. 7, Valencia-Sandoval admitted, according to a federal affidavit, that he was not the true owner of the birth certificate and that in March 2005 he had purchased it from Oscar Guerrero-Vasquez — Ramiro Guerrero-Vasquez's brother — for $50,000.

Valencia-Sandoval, who lives in the 0-to-100 block of Ivanhoe Drive, U, also admitted that he did not have Ramiro Guerrero-Vasquez's permission to use his identity; had used the identity to live in Illinois since March 2005; had obtained driver's licenses, bank accounts and loans for vehicles; had opened two restaurants that have since been sold; and had obtained a lawful permanent resident card for his wife.

The couple has four children, all born in the United States, said his attorneys, Tony and Evan Bruno.

He also acknowledged, the affidavit said, that he is a citizen of Mexico present in the United States without having been legally admitted or paroled.

The affidavit also noted that "fingerprint queries" showed that Valencia-Sandoval had twice before been "encountered" by authorities — it didn't say where or when — without having been arrested.

The indictment alleges that Valencia-Sandoval made a false statement of U.S. citizenship on a passport application in April 2012. Another charge alleges he made a false claim of citizenship in order to vote in an election. Two felony charges of aggravated identity theft, one for using Vasquez's identity to get a passport and another for using the identity to vote in an election, were part of the indictment.

Lastly, he was charged with three misdemeanor counts of voting in an election by an illegal immigrant, for having voted in general elections in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

Local federal officials acknowledge the election-related counts are unusual but declined to comment further.

Asked whether Valencia-Sandoval could be deported, Sharon Paul, the public information officer for the U.S. Attorney's office said, "That's a question for immigration."

Valencia-Sandoval faces prison terms of between 10 years and one year for each of the counts, plus fines.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Freres is prosecuting the case, which is tentatively set for a jury trial in April before U.S. District Judge Colin Bruce.

Also Thursday, a separate indictment charged Salvador Garcia-Lund, 27, of the 1700 block of Henry Street, Champaign, with making a false statement of U.S. citizenship and aggravated identity theft in March 2016 on a passport application. He also is charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, an illegal immigrant, on Jan. 4.

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

APC wrote on February 11, 2017 at 10:02 am

BTW - I am not against a US-wide investigation, I just see it as a problem that doesn't exist to the extent that Trump would like you to believe it does.  It is a sideshow to distract from the main issues surrounding this country - like keeping the economy moving - as well as real election issues, such as Russia meddling in our election.

Spending the money for this on infrastructure projects, like roads, bridges, the power grid, clean water, etc... and better education, would be money much better spent.

 

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 11, 2017 at 3:02 pm

After reading all of these comments, I am convinced that ALL people whose ancestors were not born in America should be deported.  That means everyone will have to apply for citizenship.  Everyone will return to their ancestors' countries of origin, and start their application for citizenship.  The Indigenous-Peoples Council will decide who gets in the pipeline to citizenship.

Yeah, that is nonsensical like most of the comments on the article.      

Annotator wrote on February 11, 2017 at 5:02 pm

"After reading all of these comments, I am convinced that ALL people whose ancestors were not born in America should be deported.  That means everyone will have to apply for citizenship.  Everyone will return to their ancestors' countries of origin, and start their application for citizenship.  The Indigenous-Peoples Council will decide who gets in the pipeline to citizenship."

How many generations back?  My family immigrated in 1684 to New Amsterdam, before there was a U.S.  What about Native Americans?  They were living here before the U.S. existed.  The Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism was founded in 1999 by Debra Harry to protest research on genetic variation.  How does the IPCB's protestation qualify as imperical evidence that its members may determine who gets into the pipeline?

"Yeah, that is nonsensical like most of the comments on the article."

Glad you recognize your errors.  Why post your comments if you know they are worthless?

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 12, 2017 at 9:02 am

Yep, you have to go also.  Your ancestors did not even go through the immigration process!  Native Americans are just that, NATIVE AMERICANS.  Of course, they do not have to leave and re-apply.

Did I state Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism?  No, I did not.  Read it again without editing it for dumb Trumpites.

I posted my comment, not comments, because it is nonsensical like most of the right-wing comments including yours.  Now, you can go back to beating your dog.

Dread Pirate DNT wrote on February 12, 2017 at 11:02 am
Profile Picture

+1 Perfect reply.

Annotator and her sympathizers insist that 'all lives matter' as long as you have direct blood lines to the very first white men to settle on the soil that we now call America.

CallSaul wrote on February 12, 2017 at 12:02 pm

The rightwingers are already laughably but utterly predictably trying to sealion your mockery of them and their nonsense.

They'll always come up with some contorted torturing of language that will --- in their fever swamp addled imaginations, anyway --- justify why they should get to impose their ethnonationalism on the rest of the country.

billbtri5 wrote on February 12, 2017 at 10:02 am

...not "some"...just "none"...

STM wrote on February 14, 2017 at 10:02 am

This story is anecdotal and I have never read so many ignorant comments in my life.  It's no wonder we have this embarassment as our "so-called" president.

 

Fedup1 wrote on February 15, 2017 at 9:02 am

I hope he takes his family with him when he is deported. That way, they can remain together. It wouldn't be right if he left them here.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 16, 2017 at 2:02 pm

I think that you just made STM's point in his previous comment.

Glad to see that Canada is maintaining it's refugee program.  Hopefully, the will give refugee status to U.S. citizens. 

The next Trump rally will be held this coming Saturday at the usual location.  Beer, and pig provided.