UNITED STATES−A three-year-old in the sanctuary city of Chicago was sexually assaulted at a fast-food restaurant by an illegal immigrant who had a detainer that was ignored by law enforcement in 2019.

Prosecutors say that Christopher Puente, 34, lured the little girl into the stall with him, while the child’s father took her brother to a nearby stall. Puente confessed by telling detectives he pulled off the girl’s pants and underwear and had her sit down on his lap. The child screamed, “Daddy, Daddy,” and Puente covered her mouth.

The child’s father was able to pull the child under the stall and ran the children to their mother. When the father returned, Puente was gone.

According to a press release from ICE, Puente was a citizen of Mexico that had several felony convictions against him, and was previously deported. He was living in the U.S. illegally.

In June 2019, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations lodged a detainer on Puente with Chicago Police Department after he was arrested for theft. The detainer was ignored. Two days after the attack, ICE filed an immigration detainer on Puente. He was arrested on February 19, and charged with one count of predatory criminal sexual assault.

Puente’s criminal history includes two felony convictions of forced entry burglary (2011 and 2017) and forgery in 2012. He has gone by the names Christopher Adam Puente, Chris Jose Puente, and Juan Manuel Lopez, 41.

On December 5, 2014, ERO officers removed Puente to Mexico “pursuant an administrative removal order” due to Puente being an aggravated convicted felon.

The suspect was cornered by border agents at the Brownsville, TX border crossing, where he claimed U.S. citizenship and had a birth certificate. He was charged for falsely claiming citizenship and was given the notice to appear before an immigration judge on March 30, 2017.

An immigration judge ordered Puente “removed in absentia,” as he did not appear for his hearing.

“How many more victims must there be before lawmakers realize that sanctuary policies do not protect the innocent?” asked Field Office Director of Chicago Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), Robert Guadian. “Puente should have been in ICE custody last year and removed to his home country. Instead, irresponsible lawmaking allowed him to walk free and prey on our most vulnerable.”

In the fiscal year of 2019, Cook County denied over 1,000 detainers. Canyon News did reach out to Chicago Police Department and to Cook County State Attorney’s office for more information. An ICE official told Canyon News that “The subject is not in ICE detention. For whatever reason they release him, the Illinois law doesn’t allow Cook County to give ICE a call.”