The Trump administration is continuing to use the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement as their “own personal army of hate,” as California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom so eloquently put it last month.
ICE has long been criticized by activists for their methods — that reportedly include using Facebook activity to track immigrants and spreading misinformation — and on Wednesday, ICE officers allegedly stormed onto private property and flouted the rules in pursuit of an immigrant who, according to his employer, had every right to be there.
John Collins, a dairy farmer from upstate New York, told Syracuse.com that immigration officers trespassed onto his farm on April 18 and unlawfully detained his employee, Marcial de Leon Aguilar. Collins said that he was outside that morning when he heard yelling coming from his home, only for him to run inside and find Aguilar being pinned against the wall by ICE agents.
According to Collins, the ICE agents did not immediately identify themselves and they failed to show a warrant or other paperwork that would justify their presence on his private property, even after he repeatedly demanded it.
“I told them you can’t come in here without a warrant,” Collins said. “They can’t take someone and throw them up against the wall because of the color of their skin.”
They proceeded to handcuff Aguilar in front of his four children, who were waiting for the school bus nearby, and led him to their vehicles outside. When Collins followed and attempted to use his phone to film what was happening, one of the officers took Collins’ phone and threw it onto the ground. Collins said they then handcuffed him and threatened to arrest him for hindering a federal investigation. Though they did eventually release him, they drove away with Aguilar in the backseat.
“This was something you see on TV,” Collins told Syracuse.com. “You don’t expect it to be here.”
It is unclear why Aguilar was targeted. At the time of his detainment, Aguilar had been working legally for Collins for several months and was paying taxes, Collins said. Though Aguilar’s wife Virginia and their children had crossed the border illegally, they were seeking asylum from the violence in Guatemala, and Collins reports that Virginia had been meeting regularly with ICE regarding her situation and had met with them as recently as the week before.
Adrian Smith, a spokesman for ICE, told Syracuse.com that he was looking into the situation and would comment when he knew more.
ICE officers are required by law to present a warrant when entering private property, according to the National Immigration Law Center. It’s the same rule that applies to police officers.
Fortunately, for those in favor of immigrant rights, the Supreme Court just made it a little harder for immigrants to be denied due process. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court invalidated a section of federal law that previously required that all immigrants convicted of some “crimes of violence” face mandatory deportation, CNN reports. Prior to Tuesday’s ruling, an immigrant having been convicted of a crime of violence was likely to lead to a sped-up deportation process, according to CBS.
Five justices, including Trump’s appointee Justice Neil Gorsuch, banded together for a 5-4 decision, calling the law too vague.
Trump reacted to the ruling on Tuesday with his usual alarmist rhetoric, writing on Twitter, “Today's Court decision means that Congress must close loopholes that block the removal of dangerous criminal aliens, including aggravated felons. This is a public safety crisis that can only be fixed by Congress -- House and Senate must quickly pass a legislative fix to ensure violent criminal aliens can be removed from our society. Keep America Safe!”
As has been proven by multiple studies, there’s no real connection between immigration and crime.
(Photo: Protestors in New York City rally to prohibit U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from entering New York courts on March 15, 2018. By Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)