A new border security policy has gone into effect nationwide, as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents conduct searches of the funerals of deceased immigrants believed to be undocumented. If the deceased is found to be without papers, President Trump has granted ICE the authority to investigate any family members present at the funeral, as well as deport any undocumented remains.
ICE agents are prevented from entering private property without first demonstrating a reasonable suspicion that there has been an immigration law violation. Some have argued that ICE under the Trump administration has overstepped the boundaries of “reasonable,” but the agency insists that its agents do not act without feeling adequately suspicious.
“Some people just look sketchy,” said ICE agent Michael Maynor. “You get a vibe, you know? Like a feeling. An assumption.”
At a recent funeral, ICE entered the building in the middle of the service, interrupting the eulogy given by the deceased’s brother to ask him where he was born. They also ordered the deceased, Lea Villanueva, to provide documentation of her citizenship status. When she failed to do so, the agents handcuffed her to the casket. The guests at the funeral objected to the procedure and were questioned as well. The agents detained the deceased’s mother for several days on the basis of her “suspicious behavior.”
“She asked us to ‘please repeat the question’ when we wanted to see her identification because she allegedly ‘couldn’t hear us when we were shouting at her.’ In my experience, that’s a clear sign that someone is hiding something, so we took her down to the detention center,” said Agent Maynor. The Villanueva family is outraged at the treatment but cannot press charges, since the ICE agents’ prescence infringed upon several human rights, but they did not break U.S. law.
“There are two groups of people who don’t have to carry around documentation to prove that they are citizens — white Americans and the dead,” said Mark Villanueva. “But I guess now it’s just white people.” Agent Maynor expressed no remorse for his actions, stating, “Technically, she was already separated from her family.”
Immigration activists are preparing for another legal battle over ICE’s actions, anticipating a court date sometime in the year 2028. “Wait, they did what now?” said ACLU attorney Sam Wright, speaking from behind a pile of papers. “We’re still dealing with the last human rights violation. This is going to be our 567th suit against the Trump administration.”
However, a majority of Americans support the new policy, citing concerns over immigrants stealing precious casket space. “They’re taking up too many burial plots,” said Texas rancher Blake Ryan. “They should be buried in their own country. If they really wanted to be buried in the U.S., they had their entire lives to get their green card the legal way before dying.”