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Why Was 96-Yr-Old Former Arizona Governor Detained At Border Checkpoint?

Why Was 96-Yr-Old Former Arizona Governor Detained At Border Checkpoint?

Former Arizona Governor Raul Castro, 96, who served as the state’s first and only Hispanic governor, between 1974 and 1977, was detained at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint last month, and forced to stand for over half an hour in 100-degree heat.

Castro was traveling from his home in Nogales, Arizona, on June 12, to celebrate his 96th birthday in Tucson when his vehicle triggered a radiation sensor at the Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 19 north of Tubac. (In case, you are wondering, there are several Border Patrol checkpoints situated many miles north of the U.S./Mexico border.)

Agents stopped the car and sent Castro to another inspection area before questioning him outside the vehicle for 40 to 45 minutes even though he explained that he had undergone hospital testing on his pacemaker the previous day, likely triggering the sensor.

After deciding that the well-decorated public servant, who has also served as U.S. ambassador to Argentina, Bolivia and El Salvador, wasn’t some illegal immigrant planning on blowing up Flagstaff, the Border Patrol let Castro go.

From azcentral:

Anne Doan, a family friend from Nogales who was driving Castro to the birthday luncheon in Tucson, wrote a letter to the Nogales International newspaper recounting the incident and blasting the Border Patrol for its treatment of Castro.

“I felt the agents had no regard for the governor’s background or age or physical condition,” Doan wrote. “I was embarrassed as I watched the governor being needlessly treated like a nuclear threat.”

In the letter, Doan said that after Castro was sent to a secondary inspection, the former governor was told to stand under a tent. He was wearing a suit, and the temperature was 100 degrees, but agents refused Doan’s request to let Castro remain in the air-conditioned car, she said. “The agents said (they) could not and that they had a fan under the tent,” she wrote.

After being asked to sign documents, they let Castro leave, she said.

“I feel less safe knowing that time and money is being wasted by agents who must check a box or file a paper knowing full well that there is no threat,” Doan wrote.

How does subjecting a 96-year-old man to such treatment do anything to protect our borders? The people running radiation detectors should know that a pacemaker could set them off. Yes, they can investigate, but no, they should not keep a frail old man standing outside in 100-degree heat.

This incident came two weeks before the Supreme Courtís Arizona v. United States ruling that invalidated most of Arizonaís controversial anti-immigration law, SB 1070, and it hardly seems a coincidence that a person of Hispanic descent would receive this kind of treatment in a state that appears to pride itself on its xenophobia.

Indeed, I wonder if the citizens of Arizona would nowadays even consider electing a Mexico-born man to the position of governor? Certainly not if Sheriff Joe Arpaio had anything to do with it. Times have certainly changed in Arizona, and not for the better.

What do you think? Did those Border Patrol officers act inappropriately?

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Photo Credit: Sami Hamed

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105 comments

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3:46PM PST on Feb 5, 2013

Thank you for article.

3:45PM PST on Feb 5, 2013

Thank you for article.

3:44PM PST on Feb 5, 2013

Thank you for article.

5:58AM PDT on Sep 9, 2012

Scott L.: It's people like you that have helped me decide never to set foot in Arizona. I do have friends living there, but I won't visit. There are other states were we can meet and have a fun time. AZ sounds more and more like a cesspool for ingnorant, racist and uneducated people. Too bad for the ones that are liberal, openminded and inclusive!

11:19AM PDT on Sep 1, 2012

wait a minute... Since I am an Anglo, Veteran, in my 50s and usually wear a t-shirt and jeans, I am to be held to a different standard than a Hispanic, former Governor, 90+ YO in a suit. Back that TRUCK UP! I know its okay for me to stand in sweltering heat at a checkpoint, I've done it. If its a price we have to pay to keep illicit nuclear material, Illegal Aliens or Illegal Drugs out of my STATE and Country, so be it!

An air-conditioned office might be nice but since we are ALL tightening our belts in this nation, I would rather put fuel in a Patrol vehicle than an a/c for a subject awaiting an outcome in less than a couple of hours.
Those Border patrol agents are working for little or no appreciation - even from our own GOVT inclusive of the US Attorney General and President. Those agent stand in the sweltering heat and get shot at. So do our troop overseas in combat zones.
Suck it up!
When some of the above were complaining about it happening in AZ... Yeah but this was a FEDERAL Border partol Checkpoint.. Get your ANGST directed in the CORRECT direction...
BTW - I love AZ. After my end of service in the Military and several moves around the nation, I settled here. If you feel that you shouldn't be here, I have to ask... What in God's NAME is keeping you here? Go and Good Riddance.

11:19AM PDT on Sep 1, 2012

wait a minute... Since I am an Anglo, Veteran, in my 50s and usually wear a t-shirt and jeans, I am to be held to a different standard than a Hispanic, former Governor, 90+ YO in a suit. Back that TRUCK UP! I know its okay for me to stand in sweltering heat at a checkpoint, I've done it. If its a price we have to pay to keep illicit nuclear material, Illegal Aliens or Illegal Drugs out of my STATE and Country, so be it!

An air-conditioned office might be nice but since we are ALL tightening our belts in this nation, I would rather put fuel in a Patrol vehicle than an a/c for a subject awaiting an outcome in less than a couple of hours.
Those Border patrol agents are working for little or no appreciation - even from our own GOVT inclusive of the US Attorney General and President. Those agent stand in the sweltering heat and get shot at. So do our troop overseas in combat zones.
Suck it up!
When some of the above were complaining about it happening in AZ... Yeah but this was a FEDERAL Border partol Checkpoint.. Get your ANGST directed in the CORRECT direction...
BTW - I love AZ. After my end of service in the Military and several moves around the nation, I settled here. If you feel that you shouldn't be here, I have to ask... What in God's NAME is keeping you here? Go and Good Riddance.

10:49PM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

and to think i EVER entertained the idea of moving there. good GRIEF! are these people ALL from outer space? are they things from under the earth which have broken thru the earth's crust to menace us? Why the f**k can't anyone STOP them?

As for cops being "peace officers," well OK, the Klan is a religious organization. Clear?

7:47PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

As a native of Arizona who still lives here, my friends look surprised when I tell them I intend to renew my passport - cause I don't know that I want to continue to live in a state that I am becoming more and more ashamed of!

11:39AM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

Common sense needs to play a larger part in how our Border agents conduct themselves..... A sensor going off needs investigation but surely their are other viable options than treating anyone inhumanely as happened here with the former Gov of Az.... These types of actions only create more lack of goodwill when we need it the most...

6:04PM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

The border people need to be more humane. They were rude to an elder. no matter what nationality they were.

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