NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On Wednesday, October 12, just after 7am, a city family was visited by some unknown law enforcement agents who threatened them with future harassment and arrests if they are seen in public.
According to the family, who lives on Seaman Street, the officers were looking for a man who no longer lives there.
An officer showed papers to one of the home's residents, after being asked if they had legal authority to enter the home.
One resident told New Brunswick Today that the officers were looking for was her brother. She explained that her brother no longer lived in the home.
During the search the officers entered a room where small children were sleeping.
"They flashed their faces with their flashlight, they ran out scared,” said the mother.
The family originally feared the law enforcement officers might be federal agents affiliated with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), partly based on the way they spoke to the family.
At some point during the search, one of the officers brought up national politics, according to the family.
The officer said “When he becomes president, everyone will be sent back to their country” referring to Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
"We already took out one guy in this house, and we'll keep going if we have to," one officer told the family.
NBToday reached out to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO) as well as the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) to see if they were involved in this case.
NBPD said they had “no record of an investigation or call for service in that home.”
However, MCPO spokesperson James O'Neill did not immediately respond an inquiry asking whether the men pictured in a photo taken after the search work for the agency. The MCPO has regularly ignores questions from NBT, and removed all of our reporters from the list that receives their press releases in February.
Luckily for the family, no one was arrested, but the officers told them they will continue to monitor them and if they are seen in public they would be arrested.
The founder of a local non-profit organization that supports the city's large Mexican community, said that the mystery officers were intimidating the family.
“These officers are putting this family on house arrest, telling them they will be arrested if seen on the public,” said Teresa Vivar, the Executive Director of Lazos America Unida.
As we reported in January, another family was not so lucky when ICE agents broke into a home with their weapons drawn.
The agents allegedly stepped on the head of a 14-year-old child, who happens to be a US citizen, and handcuffed a 62-year-old man in that incident. The young man they arrested remains in federal custody.
According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the American Friends Service Committee, and the National Immigration Law Center, your rights include:
- You have the right to remain silent. You don’t need to tell anyone where you were born, or how you got to the United States or any other personal information. However, do not provide any falsified documents or documents from your country of origin.
- You have the right to ask for a warrant. Without a warrant, ICE cannot enter your house. The warrant has to have the name and address of the person they are looking for clearly written on the paper.
- You have the right to be represented by a lawyer. If ICE comes to your house, place of business, or approaches you in any way, you can decline to speak to ICE until a lawyer is present. However, public counsel will not be provided for you which means you will need to get your own lawyer.
- You have the right to call your consulate. If you are arrested, you can call your consulate or embassy and ask for advice or information. They may recommend a lawyer, notify your family, or other courses of action to help you.
Listed below are a few local organization that could help with immigration issues or questions:
- Lazos America Unida: (732) 747-8666
- Esperanza Neighborhood Project: (732) 848-8511
- New Labor: (732)246-2900