After New York’s worst subway attack in decades, a Mexican woman who had been on the ill-fated train gave police her cellphone to retrieve videos of the chaos. She was undocumented.
The next day, the suspect, Frank James, walked by three men upgrading surveillance cameras at a hardware store in the East Village in Manhattan. They flagged down police officers. They were an undocumented Mexican immigrant, a Lebanese student and an American-born Syrian who had fled civil war and left his parents behind.
The authorities have credited all four with helping to capture Mr. James, who is charged with opening fire inside an N train on April 12 in Brooklyn, leaving dozens of people hurt. Now, the helpers are seeking protection from the nation’s immigration system.