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Documents Show Other Methods Border Patrol Uses To Find Undocumented Immigrants

Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Earlier this month, Customs and Border Protection detained 24 undocumented immigrants in the Lebanon area, four of those at a roadside checkpoint.

But documents obtained by the New Hampshire ACLU show another, less publicly visible method that CBP uses.

Two separate CBP reports from March and July indicate that agents conducted roving patrols in the Lebanon area, driving unmarked vehicles and wearing plain clothes.

In one incident, on March 20, border agents saw a car, ran records and found no valid social security number associated with the registration.

The driver, Florentin Avila-Lucas, said in the report he was taking a friend out to eat for his birthday, but the two had decided to first stop at a thrift store in Lebanon.

Border Patrol agents followed the men into the store. It was only after talking with them and finding out both spoke quote "broken English" and Lucas said he was from Guatemala, that the agents identified themselves as Border Patrol.

Lucas, who worked at a dairy farm, did not have documents to be in the United States and he was detained. While his case is pending, he's been released.

Avila is also part of a class action lawsuit filed by the Massachusetts and New Hampshire ACLU affiliates. The lawsuit alleges the Department of Justice, as well as numerous prison superintendents and the director of ICE, are unnecessarily jailing undocumented people while their cases work their way through the immigration courts.

On July 31, border patrol agents in an unmarked vehicle and plain clothes, ran the Georgia plates on a Ford F-250 in White River Junction, Vermont. Record checks revealed that it was linked to an undocumented immigrant from Mexico.

The agents then followed the truck into Hanover and back into White River Junction.

When agents intercepted the truck, one of the men said the truck belonged to their boss. Three were detained.

Later that afternoon, agents stopped the same truck and detained six more people.

“When this vehicle was encountered earlier in the day, the bed of the truck was relatively empty,” according to the CBP report. “This truck’s bed was now visibly loaded with suitcases, garbage bags, and other miscellaneous items.”

Daniela is an editor in NHPR's newsroom. She leads NHPR's Spanish language news initiative, ¿Qué Hay de Nuevo, New Hampshire? and the station's climate change reporting project, By Degrees. You can email her at

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