Multi-American

How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

ICE issues immigration detainers for L.A. arson suspect Burkhart and his mother

Not only was the mother of Los Angeles arson suspect Harry Burkhart not in deportation proceedings, but it seems immigration authorities until recently had no record of her being in the United States since her last recorded exit almost five years ago.

According to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement statement released late this afternoon, 24-year-old Harry Burkhart was in the country legally on a visa. But his mother, considered a fugitive from Germany and facing extradition, was not. From the ICE statement:

At the time of his arrest, Harry Burkhart was in the country lawfully on a non-immigrant visa, which expires Jan. 18.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has lodged an immigration detainer against Mr. Burkhart, indicating ICE will seek to take him into custody upon his release by local authorities to pursue any appropriate follow-up immigration enforcement action.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) records indicate his mother, Dorothee Burkhart, currently has no lawful immigration status.

According to DHS databases, Ms. Burkhart last entered the United States lawfully in January 2007 and departed the country four months later. Given Ms. Burkhart’s lack of status, ICE has also lodged an immigration detainer against her.


ICE also noted that the information contained in a federal complaint against the elder Burkhart, arrested last week on a provisional warrant related to fraud charges in her native Germany, was incorrect. The complaint states that Dorothee Burkhart flew from Frankfurt to Las Vegas in October; according to ICE, this flight information pertained to her son.

It's assumed that the elder Burkhart may have re-entered the country unlawfully, according to ICE. It was initially reported, incorrectly, that she'd been in deportation proceedings.

Dorothee Burkhart appeared in federal court this afternoon. Her son has been arrested on suspicion of starting more than 50 arson fires over the weekend.

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