Two weeks ago in Massachusetts, a woman from Brazil was arrested for allegedly accosting a man wearing a Make America Great Again hat while he ate at a Mexican restaurant.
Rosiane Santos, 41, was recorded on video swatting the hat off the man’s head and later told police she didn’t believe he should be allowed inside a Mexican establishment while touting President Trump’s MAGA refrain, according to a report from the Falmouth Police Department. Santos, who was allegedly intoxicated, was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and simple assault and battery — both misdemeanors — and escorted from the restaurant.
On the way out, police said, she hit the man a final time, swatting again at his hat. Santos’s bail was set at $40, and she was released. She later pleaded not guilty.
Now, Santos — who is living in the United States without legal documentation — also faces possible deportation.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation officers from the agency’s fugitive-operations team detained Santos on Tuesday, an ICE spokesperson said in a statement. The woman was released from ICE custody and entered into removal proceedings in federal immigration court, the official said. She is expected to appear in court at a future date.
It is not clear how ICE learned of Santos’s case. The Falmouth Police Department told The Washington Post it did not know of her immigration status at the time of her arrest and did not notify ICE. It is possible, a police spokesperson said, that a notification to ICE was triggered when Santos’s name was entered into the department’s systems.
John Mohan, an ICE spokesman for the New England region, told The Post that “ICE does not publicly discuss intelligence and research tools and methods that our agents and officers may use in their work.”
Santos’s attorney, Katarina Kozakova, told Boston.com that Santos is married to a U.S. citizen and is waiting for her green card to be approved. ICE’s involvement in her case means her green-card application now will be reviewed by an immigration judge, rather than Citizenship and Immigration Services, Kozakova said.
“That is the only change this arrest has cost Rosiane in terms of her immigration,” Kozakova said.
Kozakova did not immediately respond to an interview request from The Post.
Bryton Turner identified himself as the victim of the assault in an statement to NBC News. He is also listed on the police report. Turner told NBC that Santos began “harassing me verbally” as soon as he walked into the restaurant.
“All I said was: ‘I can wear this hat wherever I want. This is America,’ ” Turner said.
He said he began taking video of the incident “so she would stop,” NBC reported. “I didn’t think it would blow up like this,” Turner said.
The video, which was posted to Facebook but later taken down, shows Turner sitting at what looks like a bar and filming his face as Santos walks behind him.
“See this right here? This is the problem,” Turner says in the video. “Ignorant people like this. I’m just trying to sit here and eat a nice meal, and look at this."
"You see this?” Turner says as Santos approaches him from behind, pushes his MAGA hat over his eyes and utters expletives.
“People like that, that’s the problem,” Turner says. “That’s the problem with our America these days. People are just ignorant. They want to lash out on people that are educated.”
In the police report, officers said that Santos used an expletive to characterize how she felt about the man’s support of Trump. The officers wrote that her speech was slurred and she was clearly intoxicated. As one officer tried to escort her from the restaurant, the police report said, Santos “began walking but stopped behind the male wearing the red hat, grabbed his hat and moved it around in a circular motion while violently pushing his head down toward the bar.”
Turner did not respond to an interview request from The Post.
The Massachusetts incident is one example of how Trump’s signature phrase — Make America Great Again — has become a flash point in American daily life.
This week, a 19-year-old man in New Jersey was arrested and charged with assault and harassment after authorities say he tried to grab a MAGA hat off the head of an 81-year-old man outside a grocery store. The teen threw the older man to the ground and tipped over his shopping cart, police said.
A California high school student was banned from wearing her MAGA hat on campus and is now challenging her school district in court, alleging that the decision violates her First Amendment rights. After actor Jussie Smollett claimed, allegedly falsely, that he was assaulted in Chicago by two men who said he was in “MAGA country,” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., said in an interview on “Fox & Friends” that people wearing MAGA hats in downtown Chicago would be shot in “two seconds.”
Most notably, the red MAGA symbol was part of a national debate about a January confrontation at the Mall in Washington between a Kentucky high school student wearing the hat and a Native American man.