Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tucson Family Deported After Teen Found with Marijuana

Southern Arizona is a hotspot for illegal immigration. Perhaps more than anywhere else, the battle over illegal aliens has been in the news nearly constantly for years.

Today, the Arizona Daily Star covered a story about a family that was deported last Thursday after their teen son was discovered to have a small amount of marijuana at school. The family had been in Tucson for six years, had a house, and had two kids in the school system.

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 VillaseƱor, 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.

I don't care what anyone thinks about immigration and how to deal with those who are here against the law -- this was handled badly.

This family was dropped off at the border with no clothing, possessions, car, or anything else. Their home is left abandoned, along with everything they own. The father is in jail, perhaps rightly so in light of his past run ins with the law.

What do the Border Patrol expect these people to do? They have no money, no transportation, and likely no way to contact family. They have been left to fend for themselves in a country that is no longer their home.

As far as I am concerned, this is inhumane treatment. Yes, they were here illegally, and yes the kid had some weed. There had to be a better way of handling this than the way it was done. There has to be some compassion in the way the laws of this country are carried out.

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