Caribbean American congresswoman wants couple detained by ICE released

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NEW YORK, Jul 15,   CMC – Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has joined one of her Brooklyn congressional colleagues in urging the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to immediately release an elderly immigrant couple visiting their son-in-law at a US Army base in upstate New York. 
The couple, Margarito Silva and Concepción Barrios, both longtime Brooklyn residents and Mexican immigrants, intended to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with their daughter and son-in-law at Fort Drum, about 30 miles south of Canada.
On Friday, Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, and Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, penned a letter to ICE officials urging them to release the couple reported to be in the US illegally. After presenting New York municipal IDNYC cards to guards at the base, Clarke said the grandparents were detained by ICE agents and are being held in custody in Buffalo, an upstate New York city.
“As Members of Congress, we write to express our support for both Ms. Concepcion Barrios’s and Mr. Margarito Silva’s request to be removed from custody, as the family works to exhaust all their legal options,” wrote Clarke and Velázquez in a joint letter to Thomas E. Feeley, Field Office Director, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, Buffalo Field Office. 
“Continued arrest is likely to impose significant medical hardship on the couple,” they added. “Your agents have had to store medication and receive specially prepared meals from the family.
“It is our view that the family has not received enough assurances that such practices will continue, or that appropriate accommodations will be provided consistently if the family exercises their available legal options while under ICE detention,” Clarke and Velázquez continued.
The congressional members said the arrest of the couple “raises significant concerns, particularly given the health considerations of the individual detainees and the family relationship to the soldier whom they were there to visit. 
“Neither Ms. Barrios nor Mr. Silva have a criminal record and pose no immediate threat to our community or to national security,” Clarke and Velázquez said. 
“Given the circumstances and the non-existent risk these immigrants pose to our community, we appreciate your review of this request, and to exercise full and fair consideration of this request, consistent with applicable law, rules and regulations,” they added. 
Julie Halpin, a spokeswoman for the US Army, said in a statement that the elderly couple failed to present secondary identification, because there were no barcodes on the IDNYC municipal card.
“The bar code brings us a photo of the individual that we can check against the ID and the person presenting it,” Halpin said. “NYC IDs do not have this bar code. That is why they were asked to present a second form of ID.”
 Kris Grogan, a spokesman for US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), another US immigration agency that works closely with ICE, said the grandparents admitted to being in the US illegally.
“Both subjects were charged with being present in the United States without admission or parole,” he said in a statement.
The Silvas are the second undocumented immigrants to be detained at US military bases in New York, in just over a month, after presenting military police officers with IDNYC municipal cards. 
On June 1, ICE agents detained Pablo Villavicencio-Calderon, 35, an Ecuadorian pizza deliveryman from Queens, New York, after he attempted to make a pizza delivery at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn. 
But Judge Alison J. Nathan, of Federal District Court in New York, an Obama appointee, temporarily blocked Villavicencio-Calderon’s deportation pending a court hearing on July 20.

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