Ricardo Velasquez-Romero, the illegal immigrant accused of stabbing a man in the neck in California last month, had been deported seven times prior to the attack, Fox News reported Thursday.

Local police arrested Velasquez-Romero, 39, after he reportedly stabbed a 61-year-old man in the neck in Santa Rosa on December 21. A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesman told Fox News the illegal immigrant “has been repatriated to his native Mexico seven times since 2007.”

The news of the seven deportations comes as Congress struggles to avoid a government shutdown while immigration hawks and amnesty advocates continue to disagree over an immigration reform bill.

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“Records indicate Mr. Velasquez also has multiple prior criminal convictions, including those from felony drug and weapons charges,” James Schwab, an ICE spokesman in San Francisco, told Fox News, noting ICE had issued a detainer for Velasquez-Romero.

Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), told LifeZette the Velasquez-Romero case is “yet another in a long string of horrible cases with people victimized by criminals who should have been and have been deported multiple times, and then [show] up again in sanctuary jurisdictions.”

“It shows why the president’s to-do list for Congress on border security and immigration enforcement is so urgent — certainly more urgent than dealing with the people with DACA,” Vaughan said. “You can’t have an immigration bill without these elements that would prevent this crime.”

California began 2018 as a “sanctuary state” after Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law in October 2017. The law prohibits local law enforcement officials from inquiring about people’s immigration statuses and largely bars them from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement officials.

But congressional lawmakers have yet to reach an agreement on immigration reform ahead of a January 19 deadline for approving a new temporary spending agreement needed to avoid a government shutdown Friday.

While Democrats and many Republicans support amnesty for illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who qualified under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, GOP border security advocates want stricter immigration enforcement measures.

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President Donald Trump supports the immigration reform bill backed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), and Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.). But House GOP leaders have yet to bring the proposal to the floor for a vote.

Related: Goodlatte Urges House Leadership to Put His Immigration Reform Bill Up for Vote

The Goodlatte bill “is the only bill that is on the table right now that would fix these problems in immigration enforcement and border security to prevent crimes like this,” Vaughan said of the Valasquez-Romero case.

“The real obstacle here is the Democrats for demanding amnesty-only and think that they can get away with continuing to ignore the problems that lead to incidents like this,” Vaughan said. “Instead, they keep pushing these fake deals that maintain the status quo for everyone but the dreamers.”

But Vaughan warned that “right now it looks like the Democrats are willing to forsake a deal for the people with DACA just to keep the Trump administration from getting what it has asked for on border security.”

“So if there is no deal, it’s on the Democrats,” Vaughan said. “There are solutions on the table that they are preferring to ignore.”

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

(photo credit, homepage and article images from ICE.gov and the Santa Rosa Police Department)