Immigration debate comes to forefront through deadly DWI crash in Cayuga County

The national immigration debate is playing out locally through a deadly crash in Cayuga County. Sheriff’s deputies there said Heriberto Perez-Velasquez was drunk when he crashed into a tractor in Weedsport on Sunday, killing Mark Knapp.

The immigration issue arises from what happened before the crash. The suspect is an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, who doesn’t have a driver’s license. Before the crash, he also had a pending charge for an aggravated DWI arrest in Wayne County last month. At that time, police released him on with an appearance ticket. A month later, this crash happened.

This week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said no one would have died had Perez-Valasquez been detained as requested.

New York State police said they arrested Heriberto Perez-Velasquez on October 18 on DWI and other charges. Police said Perez-Velasquez didn’t have a valid ID and police contacted U.S. Customs and Border Protection to identify him. CBP said they couldn’t question him because he was intoxicated, and they asked the police to hold him until they arrived.

Read more from