John Collins was standing outside the milk house at his dairy farm this morning when he heard yelling coming from inside. He ran in, he says, and saw his worker, Marcial de Leon Aguilar, pinned up against the window by armed men.
The men did not identify themselves and were screaming at Aguilar, Collins said.
“I run and say, ‘What the hell is going on in here?'” Collins said.
Then the men told Collins they were officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He asked them for a warrant or some paperwork to explain what they were doing. They had none, he said, so he ordered them to get off his property and leave Aguilar alone.
As this happened, Collins said, Aguilar’s children watched. They were waiting nearby for the school bus to come. Collins said the officers put Aguilar in handcuffs and took him across the rural road to their vehicles. At least seven officers had come onto the small farm, Collins said.
Adrian Smith, a spokesman for ICE, said he was looking into the situation and would comment when he knew more.
Collins said he isn’t sure why ICE officers came for Aguilar and he was upset that they came onto his property without any notification or permission and roughed up Aguilar in front of his four children.
Just like police officers, ICE officers are required to provide a warrant before they go onto private property.
“ICE needs a warrant. If they go on someone’s property without one, they are violating the law,” said immigration law expert and Cornell law professor Stephen Yale-Loehr.
Collins said the officers gave him nothing when he continued to ask.
Collins followed the ICE officers across as they took Aguilar, in handcuffs, to their three waiting vehicles.
“I told them you can’t come in here without a warrant,” Collins said. “They can’t take someone and throw them up against the wall because of the color of their skin.”
Collins attempted to take photos and video with his phone. When he did that, he said, one of the ICE officers grabbed his phone and threw it into the road. Then they handcuffed him and threatened to arrest him for hindering a federal investigation, he said.
But then the officers uncuffed him and left with Aguilar in the backseat of a dark Dodge Caravan.
In addition to the obvious Fourth Amendment violation Collins also has the right to film the officers, so that’s a First Amendment violation too.
I’m beginning to think that electing an authoritarian racist might have material consequences.