VINTON, Iowa -- A week ago three Latino men, reporting to their next construction job in Vinton, Iowa, had trouble finding the address so they asked for directions. "That community member in turn stated they were going to help them find the address and location they were going to, but at the same time another member of the community called the police and called the sheriff's office."
LULAC Iowa President Joe Henry says that is when the Benton County Sheriff`s Office called I.C.E. agents. Henry said, "These three people who weren`t committing any crime whatsoever and matter of fact one of them was a U.S. citizen, another one had legal status and a third one was undocumented."
An over twenty-minute long cell phone video taken by one of the three men shows the immigration officer identifying himself, shows them being told to sit down while the officer figures out their situation and then they`re told to turn their phones off. "People not committing any crime but because they are brown-skinned they are being turned over to local law enforcement," Henry said.
Two of the three are currently behind bars and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Public Affairs Department was unable to confirm their identities at this time. Henry asked, "Are we now going to assume that every Latino is undocumented and shouldn`t be here? That makes no sense. Are we to assume that anyone who is brown-skinned is undocumented? No, that's not who we are."
While the one undocumented worker out of the three will likely be deported, Henry says it`s a dangerous way to go about enforcing immigration law in iowa. "This is terrible. this is creating a chilling effect. Clearly we have profiling here. We have this viciousness profiling that is happening here in eastern Iowa," said Henry.
Channel 13 News reached out to the Vinton Police Department and the Benton County Sheriff's Office but no one was available for comment. LULAC says they have notified ACLU Iowa in hopes of launching a further investigation.