Army Turns Couple Visiting Soldier Son-in-Law on July Fourth Over to ICE

A couple from New York City visiting their soldier son-in-law at Fort Drum in upstate New York were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the U.S. Army. The couple, who acknowledged that they are undocumented immigrants, had visited several military bases in the past with no issues.

Margarito Silva, 60, and his wife, Concepción Barrios, 50, planned to celebrate the Fourth of July with their daughter and her husband, a sergeant in the U.S. Army. The couple’s daughter Perla Silva wrote on Facebook that her parents had previously been able to use their valid New York City–issued identification cards (IDNYC), which are available regardless of immigration status.

31117834_1530917236605195_r Margarito Silva and his wife, Concepción Barrios, were arrested while trying to visit their son-in-law at Fort Drum during the Fourth of July. GoFundMe

According to The Washington Post, when the couple attempted to use their ID cards to gain entry, they were stopped by military authorities. Fort Drum Military Police called U.S. Border Patrol, which arrested the couple.

Army spokeswoman Julie Halpin told WNBC that the couple was asked for a second form of identification because IDNYC cards do not have barcodes like the ones found on state driver’s licenses.

“The bar code brings us a photo of the individual that we can check against the ID and the person presenting it,” Halpin told the station. “NYC IDs do not have this bar code. That is why they were asked to present a second form of ID.”

The couple admitted to being in the United States illegally, a CBP spokesperson told Newsweek.

“On July 4, the United States Border Patrol received a call from the Fort Drum Military Police regarding two individuals attempting to gain access to a federal facility. Border Patrol Agents responded and interviewed the couple who admitted to being illegally present in the United States. Both subjects were charged with being Present in the United States without Admission or parole,” the statement said.

The couple was transported to Wellesley Island Border Patrol Station to be processed.

In a GoFundMe post, Perla Silva said her parents were very sick and that her mother had recently had heart surgery. The post claimed that Silva’s mother had spoken to her on Thursday and told her she had not been allowed to take her daily heart medication. The family has not heard from Margarito Silva, Perla Silva wrote.

In the statement to Newsweek, the CBP spokesperson said that the husband and wife had their medications during processing and were allowed to take them as needed. The medications were stored in a refrigerator per the family’s request.

The spokesperson added, “In addition, Agents of the Wellesley Island Border Patrol Station met with adult family members not in custody during processing in order to receive a meal prepared by the family for the individuals in custody due to their medical condition.”

In a video statement shared by New York immigrant advocacy group Make the Road, Perla Silva said the family was “devastated” by the arrest. According to The Washington Post, immigrant rights groups, political candidates and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have criticized the couple’s detention.

After being processed, the couple was transferred to the Buffalo Federal Detention Center in Batavia to await a hearing before an immigration judge.

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