Car seat violation leads to arrest; Police with dogs, batons, pepper spray engage peaceful protester
Last night, the Geneseo Police Department pulled over a car, separating five children from their family, ultimately turning over two mothers and their 12 year old brother to the U.S. Border Patrol.
The pretext for the stop was speeding and a lack of sufficient car seats, although the circumstances surrounding the stop are consistent with a pattern of racial profiling.
Dahiri and her sister Xiomara are originally from Central America, working in the United States as farm workers. They were driving with their five children, all U.S. citizens, ranging in age from two months to four years old, and their 12 year-old brother, when they were pulled over by the police.
While the police contacted Border Patrol, for no apparent reason, the family waited on the side of the road for two hours in freezing temperatures, while supportive students and professors from SUNY Geneseo rallied to their side in protest. The protest, organized by local immigrant rights advocates, including the Worker Justice Center, followed the family to the Border Patrol offices in Irondequoit where they stood strong trying to unite the crying four children with their mother.
“Local law enforcement has no business doing the federal government's dirty work. When police collude with ICE it threatens community safety by driving good, hard working people into the shadows. It’s equally appalling to see state troopers turn violent against student protesters exercising their first amendment rights. This is not our New York and we urge Governor Cuomo to stand up for all New Yorkers and stop law enforcement from cooperating with federal authorities to detain and deport our neighbors and families,” said Carly Fox, Senior Worker Rights Advocate, Worker Justice Center.
Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, commented, "The New York Immigration Coalition strongly condemns the actions by the Geneseo police that resulted in the separation of a mother from her children and the detention of a 12 year old boy. The Worker Justice Center, a NYIC member organization, is consistently on the front lines, protecting and defending immigrant families from unjust immigration enforcement actions. Their quick response and tireless advocacy have ensured the release of this family, but we must remain vigilant and continue to fight for the right of all New Yorkers to feel safe in their communities."
Later that evening Xiomara and two children were released, but Dahiri and her 12 year old brother were detained over night and released this morning. Dahiri’s children were all released into Xiomara’s care.
The Worker Justice Center continues to work relentlessly on Dahiri’s behalf and is organizing a rally for later today, which will call for justice in this case and the five farm workers detained earlier this week following a targeted enforcement activity.
WHAT: Rally for justice for the #Geneseo8 and other community members targeted by Border Patrol
WHERE: Federal Building in Rochester: 100 State St, Rochester, NY
WHEN: TODAY at 5:00 p.m.
The Worker Justice Center of New York pursues justice for those denied human rights with a focus on agricultural and other low-wage workers, through legal representation, community empowerment and advocacy for institutional change.
The New York Immigration Coalition is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.