75 protest as ICE agents arrest family in Geneseo

Dozens gather to protest immigration arrest in Irondequoit. (WHAM Viewer Photo)

(WHAM) – The Geneseo Police Chief responded to events that led to the arrest of at least two protesters at a demonstration overnight, in response to the immigration arrest of a family from Guatemala.

Chief Eric Osganian says officers pulled over a vehicle for speeding on South Street around 6:15 p.m. Thursday.

The police chief says there were two female adults and several children in the car, and two of the children were not restrained by a child safety seat.

The women did not speak English, according to police.

The chief says there was not a licensed driver in the car and they did not own the car.

The officer had difficulty identifying the driver, who had a Guatemala passport, which is why Border Patrol was called, according to Chief Osganian.

The Worker Justice Center of New York in Rochester is handling the family's case.

"There is no reason to involve immigration officials in a simple routine traffic stop," Fox said.

According to the center, the Guatemalan family is living in Livingston County where they work farms. They were returning from SUNY Geneseo Thursday night, where they were registering for a program to learn more English, when they were stopped by Geneseo Police. The Department of Homeland Security says the adults did not have identification or documentation and were found to be illegally present in the United States. One of the women was released a short time later with five young children. Another woman and her brother, who were also inside the car, were detained and found to be illegally present.

When protesters arrived there, Border Patrol made the decision to transport them to a facility in Buffalo. State Police were brought in to assist the Border Patrol with the protesters around 1:30 a.m. Friday. One of the protesters threw a wooden ornament that struck a trooper in the head, according to troopers. Border Patrol Agents and State Police arrested 29-year-old Philipp Birklbauer of Rochester and charged him with reckless endangerment 2nd, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and unlawful assembly. Birklbauer was arraigned and remanded to the Monroe County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond. All have been released from custody.

Worker Justice Center feels this was an overreach by authorities who should’ve just treated it as a traffic stop.

“For people that are concerned that we are rounding up people and doing raids are all completely not true,” Chief Osganian said. “We have never done any of those activities here, and we have no plans to do them."

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