For years, doctors warned federal immigration officials: Do not take your eyes off Santos Hernandez Carrera.
He had raped a woman at knifepoint and spent roughly half his life in jail, where immigration officials hoped to keep him until they could send him home to Cuba. As far as the public knew, the strategy worked: Until last month, the public sex offender registry said Hernandez Carrera, who has been diagnosed with a mental illness, had been deported.
He never was. Instead, the Globe discovered that Hernandez Carrera is in Florida, one of hundreds of immigrants convicted of sex crimes who should have been deported but instead were released in the United States because their homelands refused to take them back.
They are convicted rapists, child molesters, and kidnappers — among “the worst of the worst,” as one law enforcement agency put it. Yet the Globe found that immigration officials have released them without making sure they register with local authorities as sex offenders.