GENESEO – The Village Trustee who joined protests at a traffic stop where two women and five children were taken into custody by Border Patrol says that Geneseo is having the right response.
Mary Rutigliano was one of dozens who gathered at the traffic stop for hours as Geneseo Police and Border Patrol agents questioned and ultimately took into custody seven people. Later, she and many others protested outside the Border Patrol office in Irondequoit long into the night.
“People are fired up. They’re calling ICE and calling congress,” said Rutigliano. “Geneseo is having the right response and I’m glad to be part of it.”
Protesters said that Geneseo Police should never have called Border Patrol from the traffic stop, which Geneseo Police Chief Eric Osganian said was for a speeding violation. They said that the family was headed to a local church and feared that the children would be separated from the two adult women.
“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.”
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. Her only form of identification was from Guatemala.
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.”