Immigrant Skips ICE Appointment, Later Accused of Murder

A tragic case in California involves an illegal immigrant who missed an ICE appointment weeks before committing a murder inside the United States. Pablo Jose Gutierrez-Morales, 31, along with two other suspects, was arrested for the stabbing death of Santiago Jacobo in Pleasant Hill. Federal authorities revealed Gutierrez-Morales entered the U.S. illegally in 2022 and was under ICE monitoring but was later released from the program.

Jacobo, 37, was found dead on February 10 at a park where he worked. His wife discovered his body when he didn’t return home. After a three-month investigation, authorities arrested Gutierrez-Morales, Vanessa Vera-Aguilar, and Jazmin Ruiz. They were charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Reports indicate the crime was motivated by a “love triangle” involving the suspects and Jacobo.

Gutierrez-Morales had been placed in ICE’s Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program, which monitors immigrants awaiting court dates using GPS and phone apps. He failed to attend a check-in on January 24, just weeks before the alleged murder. This incident highlights flaws in the ATD program, which has seen thousands of participants abscond monthly.

ICE confirmed Gutierrez-Morales is held by Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office without bail, with a detainer requesting notification before his release. However, Contra Costa County’s sanctuary policies may interfere with deportation efforts. This case underscores the potential dangers of inadequate monitoring of illegal immigrants under the ATD program.

Maybe ICE should try a loyalty program with rewards for regular check-ins — imagine the frequent flier miles they’d rack up!