A Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Maine was arrested Friday morning near an immigration and customs detention center in McAllen, Texas, after blocking an entrance to the facility with a truck and refusing a police request to leave.
Zak Ringelstein, a Yarmouth educator vying to unseat independent U.S. Sen. Angus King, traveled to Texas and attempted to access the facility for a tour and to deliver a truckload of toys, bedding and water to children being held inside the facility after being detained for illegally crossing the U.S. border with their parents.
The McAllen border facility is the same one first lady Melania Trump visited Thursday amid an uproar over President Donald Trump’s recently enforced policy of separating parents and children who cross the border illegally. He signed an executive order this week ending new family separations, but it didn’t change his administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy on immigration.
Ringelstein’s protest and arrest were broadcast live on his campaign’s Facebook page Friday morning. After lengthy conversations with officials from the facility, Ringelstein and another man who joined him were handcuffed and taken away.
A McAllen police spokesman confirmed a Ringelstein’s campaign tweet that he was being held on suspicion of criminal trespass — a misdemeanor charge in Texas punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine.
Ringlestein’s campaign tweeted Saturday morning that he had been released from jail. Terms of his release were not immediately available.
This is the second time in recent weeks that Ringelstein has been charged during a protest. In May, he and a number of other people were arrested at the Blaine House in Augusta for protesting and refusing to disperse. They were charged with trespassing and refusing to leave.
Ringelstein and another man who had been protesting at the Texas facility and later joined the Maine candidate were confronted by several Border Patrol officers, but they were eventually handcuffed and taken away by local police.
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