November 8, 2007
A ninth-grade student at Catalina High Magnet School in Tucson, Arizona, who went to school stoned last Thursday and with a small amount of weed in his backpack, was speedily deported along with his parents and younger sibling after school officials called police about the stash and police in turn called the student’s parents to come to the school. Once there, the parents, unable to produce U.S. drivers’ licenses, admitted that they were illegal immigrants, and the U.S. Border Patrol was summoned. Border Patrol took the ninth-grader and his parents into custody and picked up a 12-year-old sibling at Doolen Middle School.
On Monday, Tucson Assistant Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor said that the officer who responded to the scene handled it correctly because the student committed a crime and department policy allows police officers to contact Border Patrol if they think a suspect is an illegal immigrant. Faux News quoted Villaseñor as saying: “We can’t lose track of the fact that an administrator came across a juvenile who was violating the law, in possession of marijuana…That is a crime in this country, whether you are here illegally or not.” When asked whether such draconian measures created an atmosphere of fear, a mistrust of police and an unwillingness to call police at all, Villaseñor commented: “While we don’t want to put a chilling effect on anyone calling us, we are also obligated to do our job.”
Dozens of students, seen above, protested the deportation on Monday, marching approximately five miles from the Catalina school to police headquarters. One student, 15-year-old Erick Quintero, told the Arizona Daily Star: “We’re students, not criminals.” Sophomore Daninza Bautista, 15, said: “We’re doing something positive, something valuable. We’re showing other students to stand up for what is right.”
Ernest Portillo, Jr. wrote in an op-ed piece for the Star: “…in today’s hyper-charged environment, there is no rest for undocumented immigrants. Bashing illegal immigrants has become a national sporting pastime. The vilification of undocumented immigrants propels people to elected office. It garners high ratings for ranting hosts on cable television and hate radio. Without a comprehensive immigration policy, there’s a green light for this to continue. There is no real accountability for raiding workplaces, homes and neighborhoods in search of America’s pariah…The hard hammer on undocumented immigrants is a sweet sound to some folks who dream of a United States that never was — empty of illegal migrant workers.”
Read more immigration news.
Photo credit: Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star and Tucson, Arizona Police Department
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