Two Mexican Nationals have been arrested at an immigration checkpoint on I-95 in Sherman.
According to a border patrol press release, on Tuesday, August 13, U.S. Border Patrol agents conducted an immigration checkpoint along I-95. During the checkpoint operation agents identified and arrested two Mexican Nationals for violations of United States immigration laws.
The two men were traveling south on I-95 on Tuesday morning when they were stopped at the immigration checkpoint. During a secondary immigration inspection, one of the men was found to have entered the United States illegally more than 20 years ago. The other man, who entered the U.S. legally, was found to have violated his temporary worker status by abandoning his lawful employment.
“Immigration checkpoints are a vital component of our enforcement efforts,” said Houlton Station Patrol Agent in Charge Brent Conley. “The vastness of northern Maine presents border security challenges that are unique to the state. The use of immigration checkpoints is a highly efficient enforcement tool that allows us to utilize our limited resources to the greatest effect.”
The press release goes on to say that the second man possessed a valid passport, a valid H2A visa, and was lawfully admitted into the United States in July of 2019. The H2A visa program is dependent on the labor market needs of the geographic location of the petitioning U.S. business and the program requires the foreign worker to remain employed with the petitioning business and may not change employers except under certain conditions.
“The rules and regulations governing our immigration laws are lengthy and complex,” said Jason Owens, Chief Patrol Agent of the Border Patrol in Maine. “Our agents are well trained and experienced in the application of U.S. immigration law. That training and experience is what allows our agents to make timely enforcement decisions by reviewing documents and conducting brief interviews.”
The vehicle occupants stated they were traveling to Pennsylvania to seek employment in the construction industry. Further investigation revealed the H2A visa holder had not met the required conditions necessary to change employers while working in the United States on a H2A visa.
Agents contacted the petitioning employer, a U.S. business located in Aroostook County. The petitioning business cooperated with the investigation and reported the H2A worker abandoned his employment and departed the facility the previous evening. It was further stated that the Mexican worker had not notified the business of his intent to depart or otherwise abandon his employment.
“It is not uncommon for aliens to violate the conditions of their visa entries,” said Owens. “For our immigration laws to be effective they must be enforced and consequences delivered to those who do not follow the rules.”
Both men were transported to the Houlton Border Patrol Station for processing. They were entered into removal proceedings and transferred to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
Under Title 8 of the U.S. Code, it is a federal crime to enter the United States illegally. While most of the people arrested by the United States Border Patrol in Maine are processed administratively, underlying criminal charges are frequently present.
The Border Patrol in Maine relies on the cooperation and assistance of the public. Anyone wishing to make a confidential report of suspicious activity may call (800) 851-8727 to contact the United States Border Patrol in Maine.