WATERTOWN -- Two family members of a Fort Drum soldier are in Border Protection custody in Batavia after they were detained on the Fourth of July while trying to gain access to the post for an Independence Day celebration.
A television station in New York City, Channel 4, reported that Brooklyn residents Concepcion and Margarito Silva were attempting to visit their son-in-law for a holiday celebration when they were stopped at a gate on post because they didn't have proper credentials.
The couple, originally from Mexico, have lived in New York City for more than 20 years. They were undocumented but were given an official Department of Labor permanent work permit in 2007, according to the Channel 4 report.
They had hoped to visit their pregnant daughter and her husband, the Silvas' children, Eduardo and Perla, told Channel 4. The son-in-law is a sergeant who served in Afghanistan and is about to be deployed again.
In a statement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the couple admitted they were in the country illegally.
In an email, a Border Protection spokesman said the couple were charged "with being in the country without admission or parole."
Border patrol and Fort Drum officials are not identifying the couple.
Fort Drum provided the following statement:
"On July 4th, 2018, two people attempted to gain access to Fort Drum without Department of Defense approved identification, which all visitors are required to present. Fort Drum Security personnel identified a discrepancy with their passports. This prompted security personnel to contact US Customs and Border Patrol."
According to a Fort Drum spokeswoman, the couple presented New York City identification but that identification isn't accepted by the U.S. Army, so they were asked to provide further identification.
But their passports indicated they were undocumented, according to Fort Drum.
They were taken into custody and transported about three hours away to the Buffalo Federal Detention Center in Batavia, where they were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to await a hearing before an immigration judge, the Border Protection spokesman said.
Their children also told a New York City television reporter that their parents have health conditions and recently had undergone surgery.
They also alleged Department of Homeland Security officials were not allowing their mother to have needed medication.
The Customs and Border Protection spokesman denied that happened.
During processing at the Wellesley Island Border Patrol station, the couple had their medications with them and were allowed to take them when needed, officials said. The mother's medication was stored in a refrigerator, as requested by family members.
Eduardo and Perla Silva could not be reached for comment.
This article is written by Craig Fox from Watertown Daily Times, N.Y. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.