Several people surrounded an Immigration and Customs Enforcement van in Morrisville in a planned event Friday as a Mexican man was scheduled to be taken to an immigration appointment.
The event was planned to begin at 8:45 a.m. after Samuel Oliver-Bruno spent months in a Durham church, according to a news release from a group called Alerta Migratoria NC.
“This is wrong. And, ICE knows it. And, our members of Congress know it,” said Viridiana Martinez, of Alerta Migratoria NC.
Martinez says Oliver-Bruno came to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services office in Morrisville Friday for an appointment to have his fingerprints taken. She said he’s trying to find a path to stay in the United States through what’s known as deferred action.
ICE agents took him into custody at the office.
By 11 a.m., several people surrounded a gold van outside the office where Oliver-Bruno sat as agents prepared to drive him away.
Morrisville police were also at the scene and threatened to make arrests. By 11:15 a.m., police started detaining people who refused to leave, and 27 people were detained, according to Morrisville police.
The Morrisville Police Department said in a release that “in an effort to de-escalate the situation and negotiate a peaceful resolution, (officers) began the process of communicating with identified leaders within the crowd of people.”
By 11:25 a.m., the van was able to drive out of the area.
One of those arrested was Oliver-Bruno’s son. Daniel Oliver Perez, 19, of Greenville, jumped on the back of an ICE agent and put him in a headlock, according to an arrest warrant.
Oliver-Bruno came into the country illegally in 2014 to be with his sick wife, who he said was undergoing open heart surgery.
Border patrol detained Oliver-Bruno at the border.
He says they later released him on a stay of removal, which he says he has been granted every year since, but in Nov. 2017, his request was denied.
Oliver-Bruno has been taking sanctuary at CityWell United Methodist Church in Durham.
Oliver-Bruno had petitioned for deferred deportation with ICE, according to the Alerta Migratoria NC news release sent on Wednesday.
Officials wanted him in their office for a “biometrics appointment,” which is what was scheduled on Friday.
However, the news release said Oliver-Bruno would “be accompanied by clergy and supporters due to high risk of detainment.”
ICE released a statement to CBS 17:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested unlawfully present Mexican national Samuel Oliver-Bruno during a targeted enforcement action Nov. 23 in metro Raleigh, North Carolina. Mr. Oliver-Bruno is a convicted criminal who has received all appropriate legal process under federal law, has no outstanding appeals, and has no legal basis to remain in the U.S.
Mr. Oliver-Bruno was initially arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas, in May 2014 while attempting to illegally enter the U.S. using fraudulent identity documents. He was paroled into the country solely for federal criminal prosecution and convicted in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in May 2014. ICE subsequently encountered Mr. Oliver-Bruno in June 2014 and his case has been subject to extensive appeals, which ultimately concluded Mr. Oliver-Bruno has no legal basis to remain in the U.S.