By Bill Conroy
Board of Immigration Appeals agrees that Mexican government agents or the "cartel" would likely torture and murder him.
After some five years of battling in the immigration courts, twice being granted protection under the Convention Against Torture, and twice having that lower court ruling overruled by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) — and twice having that BIA decision reversed and remanded by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals — the BIA has finally ruled in Ramirez Peyro's favor.
From the BIA ruling, just released:
The DHS [Department of Homeland Security] has filed a Motion to Remand [back to the Immigration Court], seeking further fact-finding tailored to the Eighth Circuit's decision. We agree with the respondent that the [most recent Eighth Circuit's] decision forecloses such a remand, as it instructs the Board to apply the appropriate standard to the highlighted fact-findings. In light of the Eighth Circuit's affirmance of the Immigration Judge's fact-findings, we discern no error in the grant of torture protection. The respondent [Ramirez Peyro] has shown that he more likely than not would be tortured upon return to Mexico, either directly by government agents or indirectly by government agents turning him over to the cartel. [Emphasis added.]
Ramirez Peyro is currently confined in a federal prison facilty in northern New York. Although the BIA ruled in his favor on the major issue, preventing his deportation to Mexico, the Board did remand the case to the lower immigration court "for the purpose of allowing the DHS the opportunity to complete or update identity, law enforcement, or security investigations or examinations, and further proceedings, if necessary, and for the entry of an order. ..."
As a result, for the foreseeable future, Ramirez Peyro will remain confined in an isolation cell in the Buffalo Federal Detention Center.
In 2003 and early 2004, Ramirez Peyro got caught up in the darkest side of the drug war as part of an ICE assignment to infiltrate a cell of the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes (VCF) narco-trafficking organization in Juaerz, Mexico. As part of that effort, Ramirez Peyro wound up overseeing multiple murders at a house in Juarez — a house where authorities later dug up the decomposed bodies of 12 homicide victims.
Ramirez Peyro (along Mexican police) participated directly in at least three of those murders while working for ICE — and with ICE officials being made aware of their informant’s participation, according to public records as well as Ramirez Peyro’s own statements. However, high-level officials at ICE and the Justice Department approved the continued use of the informant Ramirez Peyro.
As a result, Ramirez Peyro has become a bit of a thorn in the side of the brass at ICE, as well as the Department of Justice — since the House of Death murders took place under the watch of former U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton in Texas and his minion assistant U.S. attorneys, some of whom still work for DOJ.
The murders played out during the course of an ICE-led investigation into a VCF cell that was headed by now-jailed Heriberto Santillan Tabares — who cut a plea deal with Sutton’s office that resulted in murder charges against him disappearing.
Ramirez Peyor's attorney during this court battle, Jodi Goodwin, describes the BIA's recent decision as a "super-huge victory that has been five long years in the making."
"At this point," she adds, "Lalo is protected from being removed to Mexico where he will be tortured and killed. The next step in Lalo's [Ramirez Peyro's nickname] legal plight will be to attempt to force the government to finally release him from solitary confinement he has endured for five long years."