Things That Matter

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

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

10-Year-Old Boy Found Crying Alone Near Border Had Been Deported And Kidnapped With His Mom

Things That Matter

10-Year-Old Boy Found Crying Alone Near Border Had Been Deported And Kidnapped With His Mom

Anyone who has watched this video of a 10-year-old boy asking a Border Patrol officer for help through tears, can admit just how heartbreaking it is. The boy says he was left alone while traveling with a group across the border when they abandoned him.

But now his family is speaking out and sharing the backstory to the emotional video that further highlights just how urgently the crisis at the border needs to be addressed.

Video of a 10-year-old boy wandering near the border quickly went viral for how heartbreaking it was.

A heartbreaking video shared last week by Customs and Border Protection of an unnamed 10-year-old boy found wandering alone in Texas underscored how desperate the situation is on the southern border. The video showed a young Nicaraguan boy found on the side of a dirt road by an off-duty Border Patrol agent after wandering alone for four hours in the desert.

People reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection released footage of the incident, which happened on April 1 by a Rio Grande border patrol agent. The boy explains to the officer that he woke up and discovered that his group had left him behind. “I came looking because I didn’t know where to go, and they can also rob or kidnap me or something,” he told the officer. 

In a statement to the publication, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agent “transported the child to a Border Patrol facility where he was fed and medically screened.”

But now we’re getting a better understanding of what led to this heartbreaking video.

Now, the boy’s family have described his plight to the Washington Post. Little 10-year-old Wilton Obregon and his mom crossed the border into Texas last month but were expelled under Title 42, a policy that releases migrants back to Mexico without letting them seek asylum.

Hours after they were sent back, they were kidnapped, according to Wilton’s Miami-based uncle, Misael Obregon. The kidnappers called him and demanded a $10,000 ransom but Misael could only pay $5,000 so the kidnappers only released Wilton. They dumped Wilton back at the border. Obregon said his sister is still in custody of the kidnappers. “Now I’m worried that she’s going to die,” he said.

In fact, the boys mom called Misael Obregon on Friday morning, crying after seeing the video of her son crying at the border.

The family’s plight highlights the need for reforms to Title 42.

During the campaign, President Biden complained about the humanitarian consequences of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which forced asylum seekers to wait for the their court hearings in Mexico. Many were forced to wait in dangerous refugee camps along the border that subjected them to human trafficking, violence, and sexual assault.

Under Title 42, though, which began under President Donald Trump and continues under Biden, asylum seekers are again in the same desperate situation. It’s unclear how many of them have been kidnapped.

“The Biden administration is winding down one of the Trump administration’s most notorious policies but at the same time it is expelling other asylum seekers back to the very same dangers, attacks and kidnappings through its continued use of the Trump administration’s Title 42 policy to evade U.S. refugee law,” Eleanor Acer, senior director of refugee protection at Human Rights First, said in a statement.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Gov. Newsom And California Lawmakers Unveil Stimulus Checks, Relief For Undocumented Residents

Things That Matter

Gov. Newsom And California Lawmakers Unveil Stimulus Checks, Relief For Undocumented Residents

Americans are still waiting for the $1,400 check from the federal government to make good on the $2,000 promise In the meantime, some Californians will get extra help from the state government. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $9.6 billion stimulus package for state residents and undocumented people.

Low-income Californians will be eligible for a $600 stimulus check from the state government.

Gov. Newsom and California lawmakers have agreed on a $9.6 billion relief package for the Golden State. The relief package is offering much needed relief to businesses, individuals, and students. The relief will come to Californians in different ways.

According to a statement, the package is making good on the promise to help low-income Californians, increase small business aid, and waive license renewal fees for businesses impacted by the pandemic. In addition, the package “provides tax relief for businesses, commits additional resources for critical child care services and funds emergency financial aid for community college students.”

The relief package is aimed at helping those who are hardest hit by the pandemic.

“As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it’s needed most,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. “From child care, relief for small business owners, direct cash support to individuals, financial aid for community college students and more, these actions are critical for millions of Californians who embody the resilience of the California spirit.”

The package will quadruple the assistance to restaurants and small businesses in California. Small businesses and restaurants will be eligible for $25,000 in grants from a $2 billion fund.

Undocumented Californians will also receive a boost from the state government.

Low-income Californians will receive a one-time payment of $600 while undocumented people will be given a $600 boost. The money will be sent to tax-paying undocumented people in California.

According to the California Budget & Policy Center, undocumented people in California pay $3 billion a year in local and state taxes. Despite paying taxes, the undocumented community has not been ineligible for relief payments from the federal government. These payments will give needed relief to a community overlooked throughout the pandemic.

“We’re nearly a year into this pandemic, and millions of Californians continue to feel the impact on their wallets and bottom lines. Businesses are struggling. People are having a hard time making ends meet. This agreement builds on Governor Newsom’s proposal and in many ways, enhances it so that we can provide the kind of immediate emergency relief that families and small businesses desperately need right now,” Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins said in a statement. “People are hungry and hurting, and businesses our communities have loved for decades are at risk of closing their doors. We are at a critical moment, and I’m proud we were able to come together to get Californians some needed relief.”

Learn more about the relief package by clicking here.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com