The White House on Tuesday condemned a rape last week of a Maryland high school student allegedly by two classmates – one an illegal immigrant – at a school just 20 miles from the nation's capital.
According to CNN, 18-year-old Henry Sanchez-Milian was arrested last Thursday at Rockville High School in Rockville, Md., along with 17-year-old Jose Montano.
Both students are being charged as adults with first-degree rape and two counts each of committing a first-degree sexual offense, CNN reported. ICE also issued an immigration detainer, an order to local law enforcement to hold a suspect for a pending immigration review.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer called the rape "horrendous and horrible and disgusting."
"I think part of the reason the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this," he said.
He also characterized the victim as an immigrant who had come to this country legally. But Montgomery County officials said she had no immigrant status of any kind, The Washington Post reported.
But school officials rejected the notion the incident reflects a national problem.
"While some would try to make this into a question and issue of immigration, what comes down here is we serve every student who walks through our door," said Jack Smith, superintendent of the Montgomery County Public Schools, CNN reported.
"We are a public school system, and we serve all of our students when they come to us."
Still, Spicer called for a review of school guidelines.
"The president recognizes that education is a state-run and a local-run issue, but I think it is – it is cause for concern, what happened there," he said, per CNN.
"And I think that the city should look at its policies, and I think that this is something that authorities are going to have to look at."
Matthew Bourke, a spokesman for ICE, said Sanchez-Milian, a citizen of Guatemala, was stopped by a border patrol agent in Rio Grande Valley, Texas, in August 2016, CNN reported.
At that time, the agent determined Sanchez-Milian was in the United States illegally, having crossed over from Mexico without proper documentation. He was ordered to appear before an immigration judge, but the hearing has yet to be scheduled, CNN reported.
ICE officials would not comment on Montano's citizenship, citing his age.
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