GENESEO – U.S. Border Patrol agents took a family of seven into custody on South Street Thursday night, sparking large protests by SUNY Geneseo students, local officials and migrant workers rights organizations.
Mary Rutigliano, SUNY Geneseo student and Village of Geneseo Trustee, said that the Geneseo Police Department should never have called the Border Patrol when the driver of a minivan was stopped for allegedly speeding on Mary Jemison Drive.
“Two women, sisters, were detained,” said Rutigliano while protesting outside of the Irondequoit Border Patrol office. “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.”
She said that Geneseo Police should never have called Border Patrol.
“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.”
Geneseo Police Chief Eric Osganian said that Officer Ian Hall stopped the car for speeding and the Border Patrol was called because the driver could not produce a valid I.D.
Protesters gathered as Facebook live videos like those above accumulated and spread. The two above were posted by Evan Goldstein and the two below were posted by Rayan Ramirez.
Border Patrol agents took the female driver, her adult sister, and five children into custody while a large crowd shouted ‘shame on you!’ and ‘shame on Geneseo Police!’
The protest carried on to the Border Patrol Office in Irondequoit, where students from at least two colleges including SUNY Geneseo gathered with Metro Justice Rochester and the Worker Justice Center to protest.
“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.”