New York

Mexican NYC Grandparents Detained at Fort Drum Released From Buffalo Detention Facility

Concepcion and Margarito were stopped by military police at the gates of Fort Drum on July 4

What to Know

  • Two undocumented Mexican grandparents were detained while trying to visit their soldier son-in-law at Fort Drum on July 4 have been released
  • Margarito and Concepcion Silva were released from a Buffalo detention facility after friends, family and strangers raised $20,000 bond
  • The couple was detained after presenting their IDNYC cards; on June 1, a pizza deliveryman with his own IDNYC was detained at Ft. Hamilton

The Brooklyn couple who were locked up on immigration charges while trying to visit their soldier son-in-law at an Army base on the Fourth of July have been released from a Buffalo immigration facility after nearly three weeks in detention. 

Margarito and Concepcion Silva were released Monday after family, friends and strangers raised $20,000 to pay their bond. They still face a detention hearing. 

Their daughter-in-law told News 4, "I am so relieved to let you know that we were able to post bond for my in-laws Concepcion and Margarito." 

The Silvas, undocumented Mexican immigrants who have lived in New York for two decades, went to Fort Drum on Independence Day to visit their son-in-law, an Army sergeant in the 10th Mountain Division. When they presented their IDNYC cards, border patrol agents there questioned their IDs and then took them to a detention facility hundreds of miles away. 

On their drive back home from the facility Monday, the couple spoke on the phone to News 4 sister station Telemundo-47.

"It was a few days that were very, very sad, especially because I didn't have my family. Thank God everything came out OK," said Concepcion Silva. 

The Silvas' son, Eduardo Silva, has said his parents had used their IDNYCs to access military bases before. This time, when they were stopped by military police, the Silvas admitted they were in the U.S. illegally, according to Kris Grogan, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection. 

"On July 4, the United States Border Patrol received a call from the Fort Drum Military Police regarding two individuals attempting to gain access to a federal facility," Grogan wrote in an emailed statement. "Border Patrol Agents responded and interviewed the couple who admitted to being illegally present in the United States. Both subjects were charged with being Present in the United States without Admission or Parole."

Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the Silvas have no known criminal history and no previous contact with ICE.

A month before the Silvas were arrested by Border Patrol, another undocumented person was detained after presenting his IDNYC at the gates of Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn. Pablo Villavicencio-Calderon, a married father of two, was delivering pizza and presented his ID like on other occasions bringing pizza there, but was detained. Though a federal judge has temporarily blocked the deportation of Villvaicencio, he has been in ICE custody in New Jersey -- and will continue remain in ICE custody -- until his case goes to court. His family made a public plea Monday to allow him to stay. 

The official IDNYC was a hit when it launched in 2015, with 50,000 people signing up to enroll in the program the first week. It's aimed at those who do not currently have a government-issued ID -- including the elderly, homeless and an estimated 500,000 undocumented immigrants in the city -- to help them obtain key services, like opening a bank account or getting a library card. 

Immigrant advocates are now warning undocumented New Yorkers to steer clear of using those IDNYC cards at military and federal institutions and buildings. 

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