FAIRFIELD (KPIX 5) — Activists rallied Monday evening to show support for an undocumented immigrant at risk for deportation after being arrested at Travis Air Force Base.
Hugo Mejia and a co-worker, Hayward resident Rodrigo Nuñez, were arrested on May 3 after trying to get onto Travis for a job hanging sheet rock.
While going through security, military police discovered the two men were illegal immigrants and ice was called.
The two men were later arrested.
While protesters gather outside of Travis in support of Mejia, he sits in a cell, waiting to find out if he’ll be deported.
KPIX 5 security expert Jeff Harp says immigration law is enforced by the book on a military base.
“It’s really easy to enforce the immigration laws that this administration has enacted, because they own that base. It’s a federal facility,” said Harp.
Security at the base is the second lowest level. But visitors are still required to show identification and have their social security numbers run through the California law enforcement telecommunications system before going through the gate.
“To be just rounded up and processed for immediate deportation simply because he showed up at work at a federal facility and somebody ran a database query that he was undocumented?” asked Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael). “This is the kind of inhumane, summary deportation that even President Trump has said we weren’t going to see.”
Both men have been deported at least once before, according to ICE.
But those who gathered to support them and their families argued that shouldn’t matter either.
The two men could have opted not to go in, but Congressman Huffman argues they were doing the right thing. Base officials says they were as well.
“It is an Air Force base and has sensitive information and classified information,” said Harp. “They have a security protocol and you can see it when you go there, it will tell you what they are doing for various threat levels.”
While neither man had worked at Travis Air Force Base prior to being arrested and neither has a police record, Huffman did say that both have worked on federal land in the past.
Governor Brown’s revised budget proposal calls for an extra $15 million to increase the legal defense fund for people battling deportation.