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Christopher Puente did not enter the U.S. during Joe Biden’s presidency.
Puente, an immigrant charged in 2020 with sexually assaulting a 3-year-old in Chicago, has been in the U.S. on and off since at least 2011. He has been jailed in relation to the sexual assault charges since February 2020.
Puente was arrested in 2019 by Chicago police and released against the wishes of immigration officials, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
A political ad blasts President Joe Biden’s immigration record and points to the case of an immigrant accused of sexually assaulting a child as one example of his administration’s failings.
"Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats have erased our southern border and they have released a record number of illegal immigrants into the United States, all at your expense," a narrator says in a one-minute TV ad from the conservative nonprofit Citizens for Sanity.
It continues, "Mixed among the masses are drug dealers, sex traffickers and violent predators. One of these criminals raped a little girl. She was 3 years old … Who is Joe Biden letting into our country? Who are the Democrats bringing into our cities? And how many more kids will suffer?"
We’ve previously fact-checked the false claim that the southern border is open; the U.S. doesn’t have an "open border" policy.
The ad is also misleading in its suggestion that an immigrant charged with sexually assaulting a 3-year-old entered the U.S. during Biden’s tenure as president.
The man, Christopher Puente, has been in the U.S. since at least 2011 and was arrested several times over the years, including in 2019, when he was arrested and then released by Chicago police, according to arrest records and information from U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. He has been jailed in relation to the sexual assault charges since February 2020.
Citizens for Sanity did not respond to PolitiFact’s request for comment.
As the ad’s narrator talks about the sexual assault case, a photo of a man and a screenshot of a CBS News article appear on screen. The article details the February 2020 arrest of 34-year-old Puente, who was charged with one count of predatory criminal sexual assault. He is accused of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl at a McDonald’s in Chicago.
The photo in the ad does not match a mugshot of Puente from the Chicago Police Department.
Puente has an arrest history in Chicago of at least six charges that date to 2016.
Around the time of Puente’s 2020 arrest, ICE released a statement confirming that he was in the U.S. illegally. The statement said that in June 2019, after Puente was arrested in Chicago for theft, ICE "lodged an immigration detainer with the Chicago Police Department." The detainer asked that ICE be notified in advance of Puente’s release and that he be briefly held by police so ICE could take custody of him.
But "that detainer was not honored," ICE said.
According to the agency, Puente, who has used a variety of aliases, has felony convictions in the U.S. dating to 2011.
There were previous efforts to deport Puente. In December 2014, he was deported to Mexico due to prior felony convictions. Five days later he reached the U.S. border and claimed to be a U.S. citizen. ICE said Puente was "charged with falsely claiming citizenship and served a notice to appear before an immigration judge." Immigrants given these notices are allowed to remain in the U.S. while they await their court hearings. After Puente failed to appear for his immigration hearing in 2017, an immigration judge issued an order for his removal.
Puente is still in custody on the sexual assault charges, per Cook County records. His next court date is in December.
Despite the ad’s claims, a study from the University of Wisconsin–Madison found U.S. citizens are twice as likely to be arrested for violent felonies than immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
A Citizens for Sanity ad suggested an immigrant charged with sexually assaulting a child entered the U.S. illegally during the Biden administration.
Puente has been in the U.S. since at least 2011 and was arrested several times over the years, including in 2019, when he was arrested and then released by Chicago police. He has been jailed in relation to the sexual assault charges since February 2020.
We rate this claim False.
Politico, Conservative nonprofit plans to spend millions bashing ‘woke’ left in midterms, Aug. 16, 2022
Citizens Free Press, Citizens for Sanity whacks Democrats over flood of illegals, Oct. 5, 2022
PolitiFact, A surprising number of Americans believe these false claims about immigrants. Here are the facts, Sept. 6, 2022
Chicago Police, Arrest Record, accessed Oct. 21, 2022
Chicago Police, Arrest History, accessed Oct. 21, 2022
U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Man arrested for sexually assaulting toddler at fast food restaurant should have been turned over to ICE in 2019, Feb. 27, 2020
Cook County, Individual in Custody Locator, accessed Oct. 21, 2022
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Undocumented immigrants far less likely to commit crimes in U.S. than citizens, Dec. 7, 2020
Cato Institute, The 14 most common arguments against immigration and why they’re wrong, May 2, 2018
Cato Institute, Does immigration reduce wages?, Fall 2017
Brookings Institute, Are immigrant students disproportionately consuming educational resources?, Oct. 3, 2019
National Bureau of Economic Research, The impact of immigration on the educational attainment of natives, Sept. 2012
International Journal of Health Services, Medical expenditures on and by immigrant populations in the United States: A systematic review, Aug. 8, 2018
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