Shortly after 7 a.m., New York Mills police joined federal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and the U.S. Border Patrol in apprehending the aliens living at 25 New Hartford St., police Sgt. Lee Soja said.
The trio – two men aged 21 and 31, and a 24-year-old woman – were transported to a substation of the U.S. Border Patrol in Syracuse, and will soon head to Buffalo for further deportation hearings, Soja said.
This isn’t the first time illegal aliens have been nabbed in this small village over the years, Soja said: A Russian woman was previously taken into custody, as well as a person from Mexico.
“I would say it is a concern to us,” Soja said. “Everybody likes to come to America and work because it’s the land of opportunity. I’m not saying they are bad individuals, but you have people here who are paying taxes and working hard, and then you might have others coming here to flee their country and we may never know who they are.”
New York Mills police and federal immigration authorities were first alerted to the targeted village address last week after New Hartford police charged another man with possessing illegal bath salt drugs, New Hartford police Sgt. Michael Kowalski said.
That man – identified as Henry Robello Mazugrie, 23 – said he had once lived at that location, and he was later found to be an illegal alien, police said.
As police recently attempted to interview the residents despite a language barrier, Soja said one of the aliens offered a fraudulent form of identification while the others had no immigration paperwork or visas.
“By interviewing them, they did admit they weren’t supposed to be here,” Soja said. Police believe the aliens had been living here for about three months, but it remains unclear how they initially entered the country.
Further investigation also revealed that the three illegal aliens apprehended Wednesday had been working at an Asian restaurant in New Hartford, while the fourth had also worked at the establishment at one point but was believed to be currently unemployed, Soja said.
Neighboring residences at 25 ½ and 27 New Hartford St. were also investigated, but no other illegal aliens were discovered, Soja said. Two legal immigrants were located, one of which was also working at the same restaurant.
The owner of the restaurant was also the landlord of the apartments where the illegal aliens were living, but that person told police that he believed the workers had legally entered the country, Soja said.
As far as whether the business owner made any efforts to determine if he was hiring legal workers, local police officials said that aspect is something that would be more appropriately investigated by federal immigration authorities.
“At this point in time, our main focus was the individuals,” Soja said. “Although there may be some follow-up, it seemed to be the impression that he thought they were here legally.”Share on Facebook