Protesters against DPS questioning immigration status

Immigration advocates are protesting claiming the Texas Department of Public Safety saying they have overstepped their authority.

About two dozen protesters gathered in front of the McAllen Border Patrol station after they say a DPS trooper pulled over a woman for a traffic violation and then asked for her immigration status and called Border Patrol agents to detain her.

Isabelle Barbosa says she never thought something like this would happen.

While driving down military highway Barbosa TMs mother was pulled over by a DPS trooper after she swerved onto the shoulder, but instead receiving a citation, Border Patrol was called in and she was taken to the McAllen station for processing.

Immigration advocacy group LUPE is now protesting, saying DPS has overstepped their bounds.

"This is creating fear in the community and people might see this and think, oh well it TMs just immigrants, but it TMs not just immigrants. When they do this, it hurts the economy, it hurts people, LUPE director Juanita Valdez-Cox said.

Juanita says actions like this will tear families apart whose children and spouses are citizens.

She has lived here for 18 years and has filed a petition through the husband to become a legal resident, Juanita said.

LUPE representatives says this is not the first time they've heard of DPS asking for immigration status.

The organization has received four or five similar complaints in just the last week and a half.

Action 4 News put in a call to DPS to see if this is common practice.

In an email DPS responded saying:

DPS does not have the authority to enforce immigration laws."

However, when our state law enforcement officers make contact with someone (during a lawful encounter) who is admittedly or suspected to be in the country illegally, that individual is immediately referred to the appropriate federal authorities.

We would have to research the specifics of that particular traffic stop, but keep in mind that a driver is required to present a valid driver license when stopped for a traffic violation.