MERCEDES, TX - U.S. Border patrol agents working the Falfurrias, Texas checkpoint are reportedly still detaining young immigrant adults who benefit from DACA, the Obama-era executive order that grants undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children temporary work permits shielding them from deportation.
KENS 5 has been following this development since Monday as more people are coming forward to share their stories.
DACA recipient Louis* is walking a free man but that doesn't mean he feels like one.
“[They] put us in a cell, we were just waiting there,” he said. “What we’re trying to do right now is go out as least as possible.”
Louis asked us to conceal his identity because he fears that Border Patrol agents will retaliate if he decides to cross through the checkpoint he was detained at on Tuesday in Falfurrias.
On Monday, nine DACA recipients considered to be in good standing were held for up to 7 hours as agents reviewed their immigration status and ran criminal background checks. DACA recipients have already provided the government that information when renewing their permit.
Some immigrants allege that they were threatened with deportation while being held at the checkpoint.
One DACA recipient recalled a Border Patrol agent telling them: “Either you go back to where you are or you stay where you are going because if you pass a second time we’re going to deport you."
"They took our phones away, they took our shoelaces away,” Louis described.
Louis said that when he and two of his friends reached the checkpoint, they were all taken to a nearby Border Patrol station where they spent nearly 4 hours waiting in a cell to be released.
“You’re just basically worried, a little intimidated because we’re already in a patrol car, you know what I mean? And just wondering what’s going to happen next," Louis recalled.
They were all eventually let go.
Louis was 4 years old when his mother brought him to the U.S. illegally. He’s now 21 and helping to sustain his family, he said. Being able to cross the checkpoint determines whether he can continue to work at refineries in the Houston area.
“First, [they] detain you, take things away from you and then take you into a detention center and put you in a cell," he said.
We asked Louis if Border Patrol explained why they were detaining him.
"No, they did not," he responded. "They just told us we were going to get processed, that’s about it. That’s all the explanation we got the whole time we were there.”
The explanation that KENS 5 received from Border Patrol is that this is part of their policy and procedure. That is why Louis feels it is important to share his story.
“So that other people like us, well, like myself, you know, under DACA, that they are aware of what is happening,” he said.
It all serves as a reminder that DACA recipients still have a difficult journey ahead.
*name changed in order to protect the person's identity
© 2018 KENS-TV