things that matter

This Advocate For Undocumented Immigrants Stood Up To ICE Agents And Won

Since the election of President Donald Trump, there’s been an obvious surge in detainments by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). One element that the public has seen through countless cell phone videos of ICE making arrests is that the agents detain people without hardly any pushback. When people have tried to resist, it hasn’t ended well.

There was one video that showed a woman telling ICE agents they couldn’t enter without a warrant. ICE agents persisted. In order to help people be aware of their rights, immigration organizations host training sessions to teach exactly what they should in case ICE tries to detain anyone illegally.

A 30-year-old immigration advocate was pulled over by ICE because they wanted to detain two undocumented immigrant passengers that were in his car.

Facebook/Columbia County Sanctuary Movement

The video, which has gone viral, shows Bryan MacCormack, who is the executive director at Columbia County Sanctuary Movement in upstate New York, leaving the courthouse with two people.

MacCormack was serving as an advocate and escort for the two undocumented immigrants who left the courthouse after an appointment. As soon as they left the courthouse, ICE pulled them over. Before the agent got to the car, MacCormack asked a passenger to record because he was prepared that something like this might happen.

An ICE agent told MacCormack that they had an arrest warrant for his passengers, but he didn’t open the door.

MacCormack tells them that the document they are handing him isn’t a warrant.

Facebook/Columbia County Sanctuary Movement

“Yes they are, sir, warrant of arrest of alien,” the ICE agent can be heard saying in the video. And this is where it gets really good.

MacCormack told the agent that he knows what a warrant should look like and that it must have a judge signature, which the document did not.

“Yeah, warrant of arrest of…alien, not signed by a judge. It’s not a judicial warrant. I have no obligation to oblige by that warrant,” MacCormack told him.

The ICE agent was clearly shocked that this man knows so much about his constitutional rights.

YouTube

MacCormack later said, according to NBC News, that ICE tried to intimidate him by speaking about legal codes. In the video, MacCormack told the agent that he is studying to be a Department of Justice accredited representative. MacCormack then said to him that he was going to call his lawyer. He stayed put and didn’t allow the agents to take the passengers.

People on social media gave him so much praise for standing up to the ICE agents and knowing his rights.

“This really isn’t about me,” MacCormack said told NBC News. “It’s about what happens when people, in general, know their rights.” He added that he was “nervous and felt fear for the safety of myself and the community members inside of my vehicle. But I was also inherently indignant at ICE’s tactics and their relentless pursuit and practice of detention, deportation and family separation.”

Watch the entire exchange below.

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READ: Advocacy Groups Suing ICE For Mass Raid In Tennessee, Claiming They Violated Workers’ Constitutional Rights

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An Arizona Border Patrol Agent Spent 6 Years Arresting Immigrants While Being Undocumented Himself

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An Arizona Border Patrol Agent Spent 6 Years Arresting Immigrants While Being Undocumented Himself

A former U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona was sentenced this past month to one year of probation and fined $1,000 for lying about being a U.S. citizen. Marco A. De La Garza, 38, spent almost six years as a Border Patrol agent on America’s southern border in Arizona. Officials found out De La Garza is a Mexican citizen during a background check in 2016 and when he applied for a U.S. passport in 2017.

As well as being a Border Patrol agent, De La Garza served five years in the U.S. Navy.

De La Garza was born in Mexico and lived with his mother in Mexico until 1999, when he was 19 years old. In 2003, De la Garza enlisted in the Navy and maintained an “exemplary service record” until he was honorably discharged in 2008

Despite not being a legal U.S. citizen, he had worked for CBP since 2012. This was all made possible by a Texas birth certificate from 1980 that was based off fraudulent information, according to The New York Times. De La Garza claimed he was born in Brownsville, Texas instead of his real birthplace of Matamoros, the Mexican city across the international border from Brownsville.

It was until he was 17 years old that De La Garza discovered that he wasn’t an American citizen. When he got the news he refused to believe it because he thought his parents were just trying to discourage him. Despite the birth certificate not being legitimate, De La Garza used it to claim American citizenship.

“Growing up, my parents told me that I was a U.S. citizen, and my whole childhood I was led to believe this was true,” in a letter he wrote to Judge Raner C. Collins. “Because of that, I grew up thinking I would do my duty one day and join the U.S. military.”

De La Garza agreed to plead guilty on one count of passport fraud, and the other two counts were dropped. In pleading guilty, De La Garza admitted that he lied in 2017 on his passport application. Due to his lack of any criminal history, he was sentenced to one year of probation and a $1,000 fine.

While De La Garza’s story is unusual it’s not the first time it has happened.

According to the NY Times, there have been three other instances of undocumented people working as Customs officers or Border Patrol agents who were prosecuted in federal court in recent years. The issue usually occurs when the government considers adding a large number of officers at the border.

The Trump administration has made it an initiative to have employers stop hiring illegal workers by utilizing more electronic verification tools and document checks. There has also been an uptick in the number of workplace raids being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since President Trump has taken office.

De La Garza’s story is indicative of the sometimes unknown work status of many industries in the U.S. where the labor of immigrants is considered crucial.

In a letter to Judge Collins, De La Garza said he was sorry for the incident and accepted responsibility for his actions.

“I should have pushed my parents more for information instead of dismissing it,” De La Garza wrote. “I realize how bad it could have been and how lucky I was to never have been blackmailed or taken advantage of, and for this, I am truly very sorry.”

At this time it’s still unclear if De La Garza will be allowed to remain in the U.S as he faces the possibility of being deported. His lawyer, Matthew H. Green, told the NY Times that he had been told that ICE officials have decided against removal proceeding at this time.

De La Garza plans to eventually legalize his immigration status and apply for citizenship one year after the date of his criminal conviction is finished. In his letter to the Judge, De La Garza asked for one final thing from the United States, a second chance.

READ: Advocacy Groups Suing ICE For Mass Raid In Tennessee, Claiming They Violated Workers’ Constitutional Rights