A local news station is reporting that a man posing as a federal officer abducted a pregnant immigrant, Cherrie Bell Hibbard, in California last month, took her through airport security, and put her on a plane back to the Philippines. Officials report that Gregory Raymond Denny drove Hibbard to a U.S. Border Patrol station claiming that he was going to deport her. Border patrol officials refused to take her into custody because they could find no warrant in her name. Denny then drove Hibbard to San Diego International Airport, where he escorted her through security to her gate, removed her handcuffs, and commanded her to get on the flight.
Watch the report:
Denny isn’t the first civilian to pose as a federal agent and exploit the the fears of the immigrant population. In Tennessee, a newborn infant was abducted from his immigrant mother by a woman posing as an immigration agent. The abductor threatened to arrest the mother and then attacked her with a knife before taking her four-day old baby. A Rhode Island man has been charged with posing as an immigration attorney and later as an immigration agent who threatened his “clients” with deportation after defaulting on his promises of legal aid. One of the most violent cases this year involved three anti-immigrant extremists who allegedly dressed up as law enforcement officers who forced their way into a home in rural Arizona where they are said to have murdered a Latino father and his 9-year-old daughter.
While federal authorities certainly aren’t to blame for these criminal acts, they are responsible for creating the environment of fear and intimidation in which these crimes are successfully committed. Federal agents have been known to break down doors and raid houses without the legal authority to do so. Parents have been separated from their children and immigrants have been apprehended and deported without ever having access to a telephone, visitations, or legal counsel.
Hibbard is married to a U.S. citizen and was in the process of obtaining her green card.