A Dutch man who illegally entered the U.S. in an effort to attend the custody hearing of his three children has been detained in El Paso, Texas, for around a month, the NL Times reported Sunday.
Frank Vingerhoed, 58, from Emmen, Netherlands, first attempted to enter the U.S. on a visa that was denied upon entry, the NL Times reported. Vingerhoed was reportedly trying to be present for the custody hearing of his 11, 10, and 5-year-old daughters.
Vingerhoed stayed in Mexico for five weeks before trying to legally enter the U.S. through a visa. After he was denied admission he reportedly walked through the desert for 12 hours and swam across the Rio Grande river into the U.S., according to the Times.
“He wanted to attend a lawsuit over custody of his three daughters, but he did not enter the US. He crossed the border illegally out of sheer desperation,” Vingerhoed’s sister said, the Times reported. “He almost drowned. Once in America, he was almost immediately arrested by the American border police.”
De 58-jarige Frank Vingerhoed uit Emmen zit al bijna een maand vast in een Amerikaans detentiecentrum in El Paso (Texas) vlak bij de grens met Mexico https://t.co/1ucGYXzvvk
— AD.nl (@ADnl) December 5, 2020
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed Vingerhoed’s detention at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Service Processing Center in El Paso, according to the Times. Vingerhoed reportedly does not know whether he will be prosecuted or deported and he has not been assigned a lawyer.
A spokesperson for the Dutch government said that because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and strict U.S. immigration law, there weren’t many ways that the Government of the Netherlands could help Vingerhoed, the Times reported. (RELATED: ICE Detention Center Reports Zero Positive COVID-19 Cases, Says It’s Due To Special Monitoring Units)
“Due to the pandemic, visiting detainees by embassy staff is unfortunately not possible. This is especially true in the US where all correctional facilities are in complete lockdown,” Dutch Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Willemien Veldman said, the Times reported.
“Where possible, we maintain contact by telephone, but because many detainees are kept in quarantine, there is unfortunately not always the opportunity to do so,” Veldman added, according to the Times.
Foreign Ministry of Affairs Spokesperson Willemien Veldman told the Daily Caller News Foundation that “for privacy reasons, I can’t provide details on individual cases of detained Dutch persons.”
Vingerhoed, his ex-wife, and their three daughters reportedly illegally lived in the U.S. before he returned to the Netherlands, according to the Times.
The Department of Homeland Security and ICE did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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