Couple Dies Fleeing ICE Agents, Leaves Behind 6 Children

Farmworkers were in US illegally
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 15, 2018 6:44 PM CDT
Parents Fleeing ICE Agents Die in California Crash
In this March 14, 2018 photo provided by the UFW Foundation, farmworkers hold a vigil in Delano, Calif., for a couple that died after losing control of their sport utility vehicle and crashing into a power pole as they fled immigration officials in a rural California farm town.   (UFW Foundation via AP)

A couple in the country illegally were fleeing US immigration officials in a rural California farm town when they lost control of their car and crashed into a power pole, killing the husband and wife with six children, police said. The deaths Tuesday come as immigrant advocates say US immigration agents are using unmarked cars to pull over farmworkers in the state's agricultural heartland as part of a Trump administration crackdown in California, the AP reports. Agents with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement put on their car's emergency lights to pull over the couple's SUV, according to a statement from the Delano Police Department and the federal agency. Neither the police department nor ICE would address whether the agents were in an unmarked car.

The SUV sped away when the agents got out of their vehicle and then veered onto a dirt shoulder, overturned, and crashed into a power pole, killing Santos Garcia, 35, and Marcelina Garcia, 33, the statement said. They were farmworkers living in Delano and were looking for work when immigration agents tried to stop them, said Diana Tellefson, executive director of the United Farm Workers Foundation. The husband and wife, originally from the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, mainly spoke Mixtec, an indigenous language. "The fact that they could not speak English or Spanish likely added to the fear they felt when they realized it was ICE stopping them," Tellefson said. The couple left behind six children, ages 8 to 18, and a 1-year-old granddaughter. An ICE spokesperson says Garcia matched the description of a man they were targeting but wasn't him.

(Read more Immigration and Customs Enforcement stories.)

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