The Biden administration has so far not taken action on the immigration status of an undocumented immigrant who allegedly was responsible for covering the entrance to Washington DC’s Union Station in swastikas at the end of January.
CBS News White House reporter Bo Erickson tweeted photos of the graffiti after the vandalism was discovered. “There are hand-drawn swastikas all over the entrance to Union Station in DC. Almost every column,” he said.
According to media reports, the White House and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are refusing to deport the suspect, an illegal immigrant who has already been deported from the U.S. at least two times, due to Washington DC’s “Sanctuary City” policy.
Mexican national Geraldo Pando, 34, was arrested in late January for committing the antisemitic vandalism, allegedly scrawling swastikas on nearly every column in the station’s entrance, the Washington Examiner reported. The incident took place on January 28, the day after Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is being investigated as a potential hate crime by law enforcement.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington issued a statement on Instagram condemning the graffiti.
“We are disturbed by this video of a swastika taken this morning just outside DC’s Union Station. This antisemitic and hateful symbol has no place in our society, and to find it in our city the week of International Holocaust Remembrance Day is particularly offensive. Our Jewish community will continue to stand strong and resilient in the face of hatred and antisemitism.”
Pando was charged with the display of certain emblems and defacing private/public property. According to arrest records obtained by the Examiner, Pando has a lengthy 35-page criminal history from Colorado, only recently moving to Washington DC. However, even with his prior record, ICE did not take him into custody after he was arrested so that he could go before a court for a deportation hearing.
“Geraldo Pando, should not have been able to commit this act of hatred. He is a convicted felon and an unlawful migrant with a criminal history of deportations and arrests, including for assault on a first responder," Sen. Rob Portman (OH-R), the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told the news outlet. "It is inexcusable that ICE did not process him and he was released back into the community to commit such a heinous crime.”