A 24-year-old Oregon construction worker who allegedly attacked a co-worker with a nail gun earlier in April is a previously deported illegal alien from Mexico, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.
Jesus Ascencio Molina was arrested on the morning of April 14 in connection with a brutal assault at a house under construction in Happy Valley, Oregon, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
The day before, Ascencio Molina allegedly shot another construction worker multiple times with a pneumatic framing nail gun. He then fled the scene, but was arrested by Clackamas County deputies the next morning, police said.
Ascencio Molina is a Mexican national who had previously been deported after a 2012 arrest on local charges in Multnomah County, Oregon, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“Ascencio-Molina was previously detained by ICE on immigration violations in 2012 after ICE officers encountered him at the Multnomah County Detention Center after his arrest on local criminal charges,” agency spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell told TheDCNF in an email. “An immigration judge subsequently granted Ascencio-Molina voluntary departure to Mexico, and ICE returned him to his home country in 2013.”
It was not immediately clear when Ascencio Molina re-entered the U.S. after being deported. ICE issued a formal detention request — known as a detainer — for him with the Clackamas County Jail on April 16, Cutrell said.
ICE first confirmed Ascencio Molina’s immigration status to David Olen Cross, an independent crime researcher based in Salem, Oregon. Cross creates monthly reports using data from ICE and the Oregon Department of Corrections to document the cost of incarcerating foreign nationals in the state prison system, where one in 15 inmates is a criminal alien.
His research has shown the vast majority of criminal aliens in Oregon’s prison system are serving time for what the FBI defines as violent crimes — murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault — or sex crimes under the Oregon criminal code.
Oregon is one of the nation’s most active states when it comes to limiting cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. It has had a sanctuary state law on the books since 1987. The state strengthened the law in 2017 with additional restrictions on the collection and sharing of immigration-related information with the federal government.
A U.S. magistrate judge ruled in 2014 that Clackamas County violated the Fourth Amendment rights of an illegal immigrant when it held her on an ICE detainer after she was eligible for bail. To avoid further civil lawsuits, the Oregon Sheriffs Association recommended jail officials stop responding to immigration detention requests unless they are backed by a federal arrest warrant.
In light of that recommendation, Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts ordered the department to stop processing ICE detention requests in April 2014. The sheriff’s office has taken that policy a step further by not telling immigration authorities when criminal aliens are about to be released from jail, according to Cutrell.
“Even though we lodged a detainer, due to Clackamas County’s policy of non-cooperation, it is unlikely that ICE will be notified in the event Ascencio-Molina is released from custody before his criminal case is resolved,” she told TheDCNF, adding that “the county does not notify us of releases.”
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s public information office did not respond to an inquiry about its ICE notification policies.
Ascencio Molina is currently incarcerated at the Clackamas County Jail on charges of assault and attempted murder, according to a county inmate database. His bail is set at $500,000.