A video that's gone viral on social media has captured the attention of thousands of Coachella Valley residents. The video shows a local street vendor being handcuffed by what activists said are state rangers and border patrol agents.
Several immigrant rights groups have been scrambling for several days to find out what exactly happened.
"He was selling his meals to support his family in these very difficult times," said Bryan Sanchez, the Inland Empire Community Organizer for the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ICIJ).
The events were captured near Varner Street and Edom Hill on County unincorporated land between Desert Hot Springs and Cathedral City on January 20.
"If they took a street vendor who was selling tacos, for sure on this corner, then we want to investigate what happened and if there was another person detained in those days," said Lyzzeth Mendoza, policy director for ICIJ.
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can be seen in the video. A uniformed officer from another law enforcement agency is also seen placing handcuffs around the street vendor's hands.
The person recording asks the officer about his actions. To which he replies, 8 U.S. code 1325.
"I know that the code basically, they were basing it on the fact that the person was not legally in the country legally, and that they were illegally crossing into the country," Mendoza said.
In the video, the person behind the camera asks the vendor why he is being detained. The man answers, because he does not have papers.
"Both agencies should not be working together to enforce any laws to take our folks away from us or any street vendor law that the state now protects, said Samantha Rodriguez, founder of United Youth We Stand. "We hope that community members continue to practice their rights because they have rights as well and we want to make sure that they understand that they understand that these two agencies should not be collaborating."
The incident happened outside the limits of any valley city. We reached out to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and Border Patrol for more information on this incident. We have not received a response to our emails. as of Monday evening.
We also reached out to the Bureau of Land Management as the officers appear to be wearing federal agency patches.
Rodriguez said her organization also reached out to Border Patrol and the state rangers' office but have not been able to get much information.
"It has been difficult to get information because our legal partners who are under the Coalition for Immigrant Justice, these legal representatives have not been able to come up with facts when they prosecuted this person," Mendoza said.
These acts have activists from 'United Youth We Stand' and Coalition for Immigrant Justice demanding a response from authorities.
"Someone is always going to have a voice for these people who just want to fight and have a chance in our country," Rodriguez said.
The video of the incident has already been viewed by several thousands, with more than 10,000 likes. Rodriguez hopes that public pressure will force the authorities to provide more information.