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Feds Settle Lawsuit Over False Arrest of American Citizen by Border Guards

March 12, 2015 (1 min read)

"An out-of-court settlement has been reached in a case defenders say highlights how hyper-vigilant border enforcement can violate people’s civil liberties.  Gerardo Vazquez-Mentado, an Oswego county resident, store owner and naturalized U.S. citizen sued the federal government after he was wrongfully arrested and detained by border patrol agents.  Vazquez-Mentado was with his family, all U.S. citizens, on his way to work, when he was arrested in September 2009 by two border patrol agents in Oswego.  He showed his New York driver’s license and he and his wife repeatedly insisted he was a U.S. citizen.  The arresting agents, who asserted he was illegally in the U.S., searched and handcuffed him, and took him to the local border patrol station where he continued to insist he was a U.S. citizen, also presenting an Oswego County pistol permit.  He was released only after his wife returned to the station with his U.S. passport and Certificate of Naturalization, which showed that he became a U.S. citizen in 1998.  The agents did not have an arrest warrant for Vazquez-Mentado, nor did they offer him an apology upon his release." - Daily Record, Mar. 10, 2015.