A man who has been deported from the United States at least five times is awaiting trial in a fatal car crash that claimed the life of a Los Angeles woman last month, according to police and court records.
Estuardo Alvarado, 45, was charged with murder, vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated in connection with the Feb. 19 crash, according to court records.
The wreck killed Sandra Duran, 42, of Arleta, and her family members have expressed concern about Alvarado’s immigration status, believing her death “could have been prevented,” according to a report in the Los Angeles Daily News.
Duran died of multiple blunt force injuries, according to county coroner records.
Alvarado has been removed from the U.S. and sent to Mexico five times since 1998, most recently in 2011, according to Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Mexican national never has held legal status in the U.S., according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity, which was requested because the official was not authorized to discuss the case.
Alvarado remains jailed in lieu of $2.1 million bail, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department records. His next court date is slated for March 14.
The case marks the latest in a series of deaths that officials attribute to undocumented immigrants in California. The killings have become a flash point in the national debate over so-called “sanctuary cities” and immigration enforcement policies.
The 2015 shooting death of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco drew national outrage when it was revealed that her accused killer had been deported from the U.S. five times. President Donald Trump has promised to revoke federal funding from cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles whose governments have refused to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement actions.
The relatives of three Californians who authorities say were killed by undocumented immigrants were Trump’s guests during a speech delivered to Congress last week.
During the speech, the president chastised opponents of his immigration stance, asking them what they would say to a family who “loses their jobs, their income or a loved one because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders?”