German Nieto, a 21-year old graduate of New Brunswick High School, was taken into custody by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents after they broke into his home pointing guns at his family on the morning of January 5. Apparently, the authorities were looking for someone else when they arrived, but ultimately decided to take Nieto to jail after the botched 6am raid. ICE agents justified the arrest as being “gang related” and based on certain tattoos Nieto had. In the course of the raid, agents allegedly stepped on the head of a young man and a 14-year-old child, who happens to be a US citizen, and handcuffed a 62-year-old man. The raid comes amid much discussion surrounding massive immigration raids throughout the country, two days before ICE publicly denied they were forcing their way into homes in New Jersey.
Nieto has not been charged with any crimes, did not have an “order of removal,” and was recently granted “deferred action,” a step towards legal residency under President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Nieto arrived in New Brunswick as a three-year-old, when his family immigrated from Mexico.
The agents started by banging on the doors to the home, saying they were there for a person named “Rodriguez.” Since no one with that name lives in the home, the residents declined to open up. Shortly thereafter, agents entered the backyard, took down the back door to the home, and forced their way in with guns drawn, pointing them directly at the family, including little children. The ICE agents threw Nieto’s older brother and young niece on the floor, the family said. And to everyone’s suprise, they took German with them. According to the family, nearly a dozen armed agents were involved in the raid, but the agency denied “kicking down doors” the following day. NJ.com’s Fausto Giovanny Pinto documented ICE’s public denial on January 7.