Family deported after boy’s arrest at school. What’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t criminals be afraid?
Catalina High Magnet School student and his family were deported after school officials found marijuana in his backpack and called Tucson police, who notified the Border Patrol after learning the family was here illegally.
The incident caused concern among immigrant rights advocates, but Tucson police officials say the officer acted appropriately in calling Border Patrol agents to the school.
On Thursday, police responded to Catalina High after school officials found a small amount of marijuana in the backpack of a ninth-grader who appeared to be under the influence, said Chyrl Hill Lander, Tucson Unified School District spokeswoman.
Police asked the boy’s parents to come to the school, at East Pima Street and North Dodge Boulevard.
When the officer asked to see the drivers’ licenses of the boy’s parents, they said they had been living illegally in the United States for six years and that their 17-year-old son and his brother, a 12-year-old sixth-grader at Doolen Middle School, were also here illegally, said Roberto Villaseñor, assistant Tucson police chief.
The officer called the Border Patrol, which sent agents to the school, said Richard DeWitt, Tucson Sector spokesman. They took the boy and his parents into custody and escorted the family from the school, Lander said.
From there, they went to Doolen Middle School, where the couple’s other son was waiting in the principal’s office when the officer and agents arrived, she said.
The mother and two boys were processed and dropped off at the border by the Border Patrol to return to Mexico in a procedure called voluntary return. The father was held for a formal removal — formerly known as a deportation — because he had been apprehended various times by the agency, DeWitt said. Their names were not released.
Police officials and the union said the officer handled the case correctly.
The boy had committed a crime, and the department’s policy allows officers discretion to call the Border Patrol when they suspect someone they encounter is here illegally, Villaseñor said.
“We can’t lose track of the fact that an administrator came across a juvenile who was violating the law, in possession of marijuana,” Villaseñor said. “That is a crime in this country, whether you are here illegally or not.”
But immigrants’ rights groups say allowing immigration officials into schools could create distrust and fear in the immigrant community.
What’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t criminals be afraid?
The whole idea of enforcing the laws is to make the lawbreakers feel uncomfortable and make them change their behavior. Like Leave.