GENESEO – Geneseo Village Trustee Mary Rutigliano and several SUNY Geneseo students and recent alumni immediately responded to the detainment of seven people, two adults and five children, as suspected illegal immigrants from a routine traffic stop Thursday evening.
Rutigliano returned a request for comment at 1:39 a.m. Friday while outside the Irondequoit Border Patrol Office with members of Metro Justice Rochester and the Worker Justice Center as part of a Rapid Response rally called by Metro Justice.
“Two women, sisters, were detained,” said Rutigliano. “Each had two children and there was also a 12-year-old boy. […] Some folks have been released. One woman, Xiomara, and the 12-year-old will be sent to Buffalo and they’re going to be deported.”
Geneseo Police Chief Eric Osganian said that Geneseo Police Officer Ian Hall stopped a minivan for an alleged speeding violation on Mary Jemison Drive and called U.S. Border Patrol to confirm the driver’s identity when they could not produce a valid form of identification.
Rutigliano said that Geneseo Police should never have called Border Patrol from the stop.
“ICE is a federal agency, as is Border Patrol,” said Rutigliano after the incident. “Local agencies are not required to call federal agencies when making traffic stops of this nature. […] We have people pulled over all the time who don’t have a driver’s license, and they don’t call the Border Patrol on them.”
When word of the traffic stop spread through social media, like the above Facebook Live videos shot by a bystander, students and alumni were quick to respond and call for immediate public action.
“GENESEO COMMUNITY!!! A WOMAN HAS BEEN PULLED OVER AND HAD BORDER PATROL CALLED ON HER ON HER WAY HOME FROM CHURCH!!!! THEY ARE BEING DETAINED NEAR RT. 63 AND THE TOWNHOUSES. PLEASE JOIN OTHER ACTIVISTS IN SHOWING SUPPORT FOR THIS WOMAN RIGHT NOW AND GET DOWN THERE!!!!!!!!” posted recent SUNY Geneseo graduate Pat McCormick.
Rutigliano can be heard in the video addressing a person by the name ‘Eric’ and saying, among other things, ‘You are not required to do ICE’s work.’
“We need to know who we consider in our community,” said Rutigliano. “There is a lot of ‘othering’ going on here. I’m Spanish speaking, so I’ve been to a couple meetings of migrants and they say they’re here to help. They mean us, we documented folks who don’t have to get involved in manual agricultural labor.”