(FOX NEWS) — One case illustrates the unique challenges facing the Trump administration in reforming a broken immigration system.
Constantino Banda-Acosta was arrested in May on DUI charges related to a hit-and-run crash that severely injured a 6-year-old boy in California. The 38-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico had been deported 17 times since 2002, federal records show.
Yet, despite Banda-Acosta’s DUI arrest and others for domestic violence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office refused to prosecute him for “criminal re-entry” after deportation. As a low-level criminal alien, Banda-Acosta met the guidelines of President Barack Obama’s “prosecutorial discretion” policy.
That policy backfired May 6, when Banda-Acosta, allegedly driving drunk and speeding, slammed his vehicle into the Lake family — driving home from a day at Disneyland.
Banda-Acosta left the scene, but was stopped a mile away in his damaged pickup by the Border Patrol near San Diego. He left 6-year-old Lennox Lake unconscious and without a heartbeat on the pavement. With the help of his parents and paramedics, the boy survived.
Yet, based on federal court records, this is the first time U.S. prosecutors charged Banda-Acosta with a federal immigration violation, despite having multiple chances to put him behind bars for 5 years or more at various times.
“This is yet another harrowing example of why immigration enforcement is critical to the rule of law and safety of American citizens,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. “When someone is able to re-enter the country after being removed  times and puts the life of a child in jeopardy, it should be a wakeup call to all of us that border security and enforcement of our laws must be a priority to ensure safety and justice in America.”
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