Food Not Bombs, the food-sharing organization dedicated to helping the homeless, impoverished, and needy, has long claimed that South Florida police keep tabs on their organization and occasionally harass people stopping by to get food.
But the group's activists say they were particularly stunned
Then, at around 11:45 a.m., two Border Patrol agents in green vests exited their cruiser, grabbed someone who'd just finished a free meal, and threw him into the back of the car.
"He's going to go see an immigration judge," the cop says in a video that activist Ryan Hartman took, which he provided to New Times. "He has the right to see an immigration judge. And he's gonna make the decision if he stays or if he leaves."
Hartman says Food Not Bombs activists noticed multiple CBP cars circling the sharing event as the lunch drew to a close.
"We saw this border patrol car pull into parking lot 160 yards away," he said. "We saw the cops take a cell phone out of the person’s hand and immediately put him in handcuffs."
A spokesperson for Border Protection, Norma Morfa, did not immediately respond to New Times' request for information about the arrest. It's not immediately clear what, if anything, the man was charged with. But the incident raises questions as to whether CBP agents are patrolling events targeted at low-income people, in order to hunt down undocumented immigrants.
The arrest comes after agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a separate agency under the Department of Homeland Security, detained an undocumented woman after she attempted to get domestic-violence protections at a Texas courthouse. While Trump has said arrests at courthouses will continue, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights yesterday called the practice harmful to "access to justice."
In February, after President Trump's Muslim travel ban was shot down in federal court, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that Trump wanted to "take the shackles off" border protection and immigration enforcement officials to deport more people. On February 21, Trump signed an order directing the Department of Homeland Security, which
In March, the Los Angeles Times reported that Latino communities are reporting fewer instances of sexual and domestic violence, out of fear that cops will instead use house 911 calls as an excuse to check a person's immigration status and deport someone.
Earlier this month, an undocumented immigrant brought here as a child, who was protected from deportation under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, was kicked out of the country.
But Hartman, the Food Not Bombs activist, says he's floored border agents would have the guts to hunt for potential deportees at a food-sharing event for the poor.
"Half the people who come to our food-sharing are Latino," he says. "
Once the agents cuffed the arrestee, Hartman started filming: In a clip posted online, the two CBP agents — one wearing an off-white cowboy hat — lead the detained man into a cruiser, while Hartman openly heckles the cops.
"I think it's disgusting that you come into our communities and take people," Hartman says.
After one of the agents said he's just "doing my job," the officer tells Hartman to have a nice day. After Hartman jawed back and forth a bit more with the cops, the cruiser peels away.
"Is this Trump shit?" an onlooker then asked.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.