Border Patrol agents detain 96-year-old Mexican American retired judge, former U.S. ambassador, and former Governor of Arizona Raúl Castro on June 12 near the town of Tubac, Arizona
The former ambassador was traveling to his own birthday party in Tucson when the Border Patrol stopped his car at a routine checkpoint near the town of Tubac, Arizona, for what the agent reported was a “nuclear threat.” Apparently, a solution Governor Castro took the day before as part of a medical procedure set off an alarm system. So far, nothing out of the ordinary. What happened next is what has raised alarm and caused many to once again question the training and professionalism of the United States Border Patrol.
Agents asked Castro, who was not driving, to step out of the vehicle and stand under a tent while they performed a secondary inspection. The driver and family friend, Anne Doan, writes in the Nogales International that she pleaded with agents to allow Castro to sit in the air-conditioned car while they performed the inspection, but was denied.
In 100-degree heat, Governor Castro and Ms. Doan stood outside for more than half an hour.
“At that point I was begging them to leave him alone. They brought out a document for him to fill out and sign. They had a machine they ran up and down his body front and back. Finally they released us and as we were walking back to the car they stopped him and said they had to see his identification. We were standing out in the sun, by this time, and Gov. Castro reached for his identification and showed it to the agent, they registered the information they needed from his identification and they released us, again,” wrote Ms. Doan.
“I’ve worked on immigration matters all of my life, as an ambassador, a governor and on the border,” Castro said in an interview with Salon magazine. “But this was really bad judgment.”
Unfortunately, this was not the first time the governor’s been stopped and questioned by the Border Patrol.
Governor Castro told Salon of a time in the early 60’s when Border Patrol agents stopped and questioned him while working on his farmhouse fence in Tucson. Agents were about to arrest him when he showed them the sign hanging at the front of his farm that read “Judge Castro.” In a second incident, the former governor was returning home with his daughter when agents stopped him and asked, “Hey, where were you born?” Castro who is originally from Cananea, Sonora, responded, “I was born in Mexico.” The agents kept Castro detained until a neighbor, possibly coming to his assistance, approached and greeted him by saying, “Governor, how are you?”
At the very least, Governor Castro deserves a formal apology by the United States Border Patrol. Secretary Napolitano should also intervene and ensure this doesn’t ever happen to another senior-citizen along the US-Mexico border.
Image: AZ Public Media