U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are detaining a record number of people as a result of stricter anti-immigration measures under the Trump administration.
But it seems a number of these agents are going rogue and exerting their power through harassment while on their searches.
Comedian Mohanad Elshieky from Portland, Oregon, shared a harrowing encounter with what he assumed was an ICE agent on his way from Spokane, WA to Portland as a passenger on a Greyhound bus.
The Portland comic was detained after the agent claimed Elshieky had "illegal" papers.
He tweeted, in part:
"They walked around before they asked me and few others to step outside and took my documents and interrogated me for around 20 mins then claimed my papers were fake and that I'm 'illegal.'"
This morning, ICE agents got on my Greyhound bus that was headed from Spokane to Portland. They walked around befor… https://t.co/Z5c1CWoLLB— Mohanad Elshieky (@Mohanad Elshieky) 1548623323.0
The system, unfortunately, often ignores individual cases like Elshieky's, who was granted asylum and had a work permit in the U.S.
I explained to them that I was granted Asylum here in the United States, and that the work permit they currently ho… https://t.co/a6wSxj7TGF— Mohanad Elshieky (@Mohanad Elshieky) 1548623358.0
They got on the phone with immigration and gave them my name and document number and I can hear the person on the e… https://t.co/689Wk8R0zj— Mohanad Elshieky (@Mohanad Elshieky) 1548623383.0
The ICE agent ended the call and then said “there are no records of your Asylum” and I again said that was impossib… https://t.co/iB7b4LhtD0— Mohanad Elshieky (@Mohanad Elshieky) 1548623402.0
With the system arbitrarily implicating many innocent people, these enforcement groups pose a threat to a variety of civil liberties. According to the ACLU, these include:
"They implicate the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the constitutional guarantee of due process, and the constitutional guarantee of equal protection and freedom from discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and national origin."
Elshieky kept his composure during the interrogation.
I kept it together and told them that what they are doing now is illegal and that they must hand me my documents ba… https://t.co/DPWSe5NGjj— Mohanad Elshieky (@Mohanad Elshieky) 1548623428.0
It gets worse.
Another ICE agent then started yelling at me to take my hands out of my pockets and I did which is stupid because i… https://t.co/E2MqvgKhF6— Mohanad Elshieky (@Mohanad Elshieky) 1548623453.0
They handed my documents back and said “next time, have your papers on you” which means nothing because I did and they said they were fake.— Mohanad Elshieky (@Mohanad Elshieky) 1548623475.0
The whole experience was unexpected and infuriating.
To be honest, I have never felt as terrible as I did today. I have never imagined that I would have to go through this.— Mohanad Elshieky (@Mohanad Elshieky) 1548623498.0
It was an another reminder that even though I have been here for 5 years working my ass off, I was still considered… https://t.co/L5gbXp5ocm— Mohanad Elshieky (@Mohanad Elshieky) 1548623518.0
The trip was foul from the start, and he had some words for Greyhound.
The ironic part is that I though that smell on the Greyhound bus was gonna be the worst part of the trip. Also, fuc… https://t.co/Tlew13kwyT— Mohanad Elshieky (@Mohanad Elshieky) 1548623543.0
Here is a photo of the racist trash Fox News call “heroes”. https://t.co/oXbSfoKvB7— Mohanad Elshieky (@Mohanad Elshieky) 1548623633.0
Here are the screenshots of his view.
People pointed out that the uniformed men in the photos were Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, not ICE, which makes sense, given that ICE does not patrol American borders.
Regardless of which agency these men represented, their conduct towards Elshieky was appalling.
Some people have brought to my attention that based on the photos I taken, those were CBP and not ICE. Here is a ph… https://t.co/qXT1xvKtDi— Mohanad Elshieky (@Mohanad Elshieky) 1548639407.0
Elshieky corroborated his story by providing proof that he was a passenger.
A lot of Elshieky's followers empathized with him for being a victim of harassment.
@MohanadElshieky Not everyone in America see you as “the other.” Many of us are glad you are here and have your bac… https://t.co/E2Ttq21JSG— Barbara Malmet (@Barbara Malmet) 1548681974.0
@MohanadElshieky I’m so sorry to hear this. Please know that there are so many Americans who are happy that you ar… https://t.co/a9tcxVP5i7— Craig countryman (@Craig countryman) 1548657325.0
@MohanadElshieky I am so, so, so sorry that you were mistreated this way. There is no explanation, nor is there an… https://t.co/8RJHqq3Yxh— Catski (@Catski) 1548686822.0
@MohanadElshieky Damn, this is like you're showing your papers again... ☹️☹️☹️ So sorry about your harassment, bec… https://t.co/cm43IPOcN6— Carol Lynne (@Carol Lynne) 1548690635.0
@MohanadElshieky I’m so sorry this happened to you. What a horrific experience. Please keep your head high, you hav… https://t.co/ICEWF82sH3— Reena (@Reena) 1548668624.0
@MohanadElshieky Please take the time to file a formal complaint. This is terrible and, as an American, I am ashame… https://t.co/Gya9QuEjSq— FanOfJustice (@FanOfJustice) 1548658272.0
Unfortunately, as readers made clear from their own experiences, this was no isolated incident.
@MohanadElshieky 4-so I can attest how it could be. Maybe this was the Detroit crossing attitude. I don’t know. Bu… https://t.co/ThERYnsOBW— Ken Padgett (@Ken Padgett) 1548675689.0
@MohanadElshieky 3-crossing the border CBP treated me like dirt. Yelling at me, trashed my car & threatening to arr… https://t.co/71pM0h8Xzg— Ken Padgett (@Ken Padgett) 1548675501.0
@MohanadElshieky I was born in the US so we're both my parents, my father's parents came from Mexico legally, my mo… https://t.co/Oj7r2x9PTC— Christina Hunter 🌸 (@Christina Hunter 🌸) 1548664778.0
Immigration officials filed 287,741 new deportations during the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2018 — a record high since 1992, due to stricter enforcement laws and not because of an increase in immigration.
Camille Mackler, director of immigration legal policy at the New York Immigration Coalition told CBS News:
"It's a confirmation of everything we've seen coming. They've been arresting everyone and pushing for more deportations."
Originally from Libya, Elshieky is a revered comic for his unapologetic tackling of politics and racial discrimination in his standup routines.
He was recently named one of Team Coco's Comics to Watch at the New York Comedy Festival and was featured on Lovett or Leave it Podcast,NPR, Buzzfeed, Put Your Hands Together Podcast.
Not only is he an accomplished comic, he has every right to be living and working here.
Welcome to America. Sigh.