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Convicted Child Rapist Captured in Sanctuary City

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Criminal arrested by ICE | Image by Pixabay

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Before being taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last week, a convicted child rapist turned unlawful immigrant spent years hiding out in a Massachusetts sanctuary city.

On May 25, a criminal fugitive named Vagner Brito Paixao was apprehended near Somerville, Massachusetts. Paixao had previously been convicted in Brazil and sentenced to 14 years in prison on child rape charges.

It is unknown when he was charged with and convicted of child rape in Brazil.

Officers from the Boston Field Office of ICE and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) took the 31-year-old man into custody.

“Convicted child predators like Brito Paixao cannot use the United States to hide and avoid serving prison time,” said ERO Boston acting Field Office Director LaDeon Francis. “This predator would still be posing a threat to the community were it not for the outstanding efforts of our officers and critical law enforcement partners in Brazil.”

Francis added, “This arrest gives me great pride in the team of dedicated ICE officers we have in Boston who are deeply committed to protecting our communities.”

According to a statement released by ICE on Monday, Paixao, who “posed a threat to public safety based on his conviction in Brazilian criminal court,” was taken into custody without incident.

Paixao is said to have spent at least three years hiding out in Somerville, which has been a sanctuary city since 1987 and was recently reaffirmed as such in 2016, according to the City of Somerville website.

There is not a formal legal definition of a sanctuary city, and what it entails differs significantly from one location to the next. In general, according to Franklin County Law Library, local law enforcement in sanctuary cities or counties does not inquire about or report the immigration status of individuals they encounter.

Former Democratic Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, on the other hand, approved an executive order in 2014 allowing the local police force to honor ICE criminal warrants, particularly in cases of significant or violent offenses or for those on the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry.

Paixao arrived in the United States in March 2018 on a nonimmigrant B2 visa. The document permitted him to stay in the country for a limited time, but it was terminated in September 2018.

His request to extend his nonimmigrant status until March 14, 2019, was granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in February 2019. According to ICE, Paixao stayed in the U.S. beyond the March date without authorization from the Department of Homeland Security.

In June 2021, the U.S. Department of State terminated his nonimmigrant visa. The former fugitive is still being held by ICE and will be handed over to Brazilian police, who had issued an arrest warrant for him.

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