Appeals Court Orders US To Free Window-Washing Border Crosser

March 07, 2017

An Appeals Court judge has ordered the United States to free a man it’s held for more than two years in prison after he crossed the border at a port of entry while washing windows.

Rosario Vazquez-Hernandez admitted to crossing the line, in his case, crossing the line into the pre-inspection lane at the Mariposa port of entry in Nogales, Ariz., while washing the windows of cars waiting to cross.

It's a 100-yard stretch of U.S. territory that is mostly intended for cars to funnel in. Vazquez-Hernandez is a Mexican citizen and one who’s been deported three times. In 2014, he crossed into that pre-inspection area, and, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers watching him on surveillance cameras, he appeared furtive.

According to court documents, they said he tried to run when they confronted him. That’s what landed him in a felony indictment and then a guilty verdict in federal court in Tucson.

Henry Jacobs represented him in the Appeals Court.

"There was a lot of evidence about him glancing up this lane and it was urged to the jury that this was evidence that he intended to go beyond," he said.

The Appeals Court judge ruled against the U.S., last Friday, saying Vazquez had no intention of entering the U.S. illegally and was in the view of hundreds of agents and cameras the whole time. Jacobs said he argued that

"The government needs to be consistent in how they manage this area. And it's quite clear to anyone who goes there that peddlers and vendors are routinely permitted in this area without any contact from (agents). It's quite clear that this person was known to them and they paid special attention to him."

Jacobs said Vazquez will be freed in the coming days and subsequently, deported once again.