Mexican Immigrant Questioned By Transit Officer In Viral Video Deported
On May 14, Ariel Vences-Lopez was arrested by ICE after being questioned about his immigration status aboard a train in Minneapolis. His deportation was scheduled for May 23.
An immigrant who was interrogated on a train in Minneapolis on his immigration status by a Metro Transit officer is in the custody of the Border Patrol and faces a possible deportation, the transportation office reported.
In a statement issued on Saturday by Metro Transit chief John Harrington, it was revealed that the immigrant questioned aboard a train on May 14, Ariel Vences-Lopez, is hold in custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and has been "scheduled for deportation."
The incident was made public after a passenger recorded on video the moment a Metro Transit agent checked the trip tickets, and after not getting a satisfactory answer on the ticket from the Hispanic passenger, he asked if his immigration status was "cool".
"Are you authorized to act as immigration agents?," Local artist Ricardo Levins Morales, who recorded the interaction, questioned the controller.
"No, not necessarily," replied the controller, as seen in the video that Morales posted on Facebook days later.
Last week, the authorities of this transport office issued a statement in which they noted that an internal investigation had been initiated in the wake of the incident.
They also stressed that "it is not the practice of Metro Transit agents to inquire about the immigration status of our passengers."
The agency confirmed Saturday that Vences-Lopez was reported to a local police unit for failing to pay the transportation fee, but no "reference to the passenger's immigration status" was made, after which he was referred to the local ICE.
The office also added that the agent who questioned the immigration situation of Vences-Lopez "is no longer an employee of the Metro Transit Police Department."
"We are working to restore confidence that was broken by this isolated incident," the office added.
According to Twin cities, the video of the incident made by a third-party passenger has been shared over 15,000 times and viewed more than 1 million times on Facebook.