A Mexican immigrant couple living in Brooklyn attempted to visit a family member stationed at Fort Drum, New York, on the Fourth of July before his upcoming deployment — but instead, they were detained at the base gate, questioned by Border Protection agents, and taken to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility miles away, according to a local NBC news affiliate.
- Concepcion and Margarito Silva were traveling with family from Brooklyn to visit their son-in-law, who serves as a sergeant in the 10th Mountain Division, prior to his upcoming deployment. The son-in-law has not been named, but NBC reports that he previously deployed twice to Afghanistan.
- “On July 4, 2018, two people attempted to gain access to Fort Drum without Department of Defense approved identification, which all visitors are required to present,” according to a Department of Defense statement provided to NBC News. “Fort Drum security personnel identified a discrepancy with their passports. This prompted security personnel to contact Customs and Border Patrol.”
- Eduardo Silva, a son of Concepcion and Margarito, told NBC that his parents have lived in New York for two decades after entering the States without documentation. In 2007, they were approved for U.S. Department of Labor work permits. At the time of their detention, they reportedly had valid New York City ID cards, which the couple had used to access the base before. According to Perla Silva, another of the couple’s grown children, Border Protection agents arrived and detained the couple within minutes of the family’s arrival on post.
- At Wellesley Island Border Patrol Station, roughly 34 miles from Fort Drum, Border Protection agents “interviewed the couple who admitted to being illegally present in the United States,” a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told Task & Purpose in a statement. “Both subjects were charged with being Present in the United States without Admission or Parole.”
- While the Silvas’ children have raised concerns over their parents’ health — both parents have recently undergone surgery and need medication — the CBP told T&P that “both individuals had their medications with them and were allowed to take them when needed”; the medication was stored in a refrigerator, at their request, and adult family members were permitted to provide prepared meals for their parents, due to their medical condition.
- Concepcion and Margarito Silva were transported to the Buffalo Federal Detention Center in Batavia, New York, and placed in ICE custody while they await a hearing before an immigration judge, CBP told Task & Purpose.
- The incident came one month after an undocumented immigrant working as a pizza deliveryman was arrested outside the gate of Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, when he showed guards his New York City identification card and agreed to sign a waiver for a background check. He had an active warrant for his deportation, and immigration agents were called, according to CNN.
- Last November, Customs and Border Protection established a temporary recruiting office on Fort Drum.