In Texas, U.S. marshals have arrested a man over his federal student loan debt. The federal government has contracted student loan collections to private debt collectors, who have the ability to deploy U.S. marshals. Houston resident Paul Aker says that last Thursday seven armed U.S. marshals arrived at his home, arrested him and placed him in jail over what was initially a $1,500 student loan debt that has been outstanding since 1987. Paul Aker spoke to Fox 26.
Paul Aker: "They took me downtown to the federal court, where they put me in a four-by-four cell for about an hour. And then, an hour later, I was taken before a judge, surrounded by seven marshals."
Isiah Carey: "For a payment agreement?"
Paul Aker: "For a payment agreement."
Isiah Carey: "All of that for a payment agreement?"
Paul Aker: "Absolutely, absolutely. It was just totally mind-boggling. I just couldn’t believe that I’m standing before the court, with no rights read to me, no legal representation, and I’m being told that I owe $1,500, and just couldn’t believe it."
The U.S. Marshals Service confirmed the arrest, saying the agency has been trying to collect the loan for the past three years. Approximately 40 million people in the United States currently have student loan debt.