Skip to comments.Opinion by Ernesto Portillo Jr. : Deportation stirs backlash
Posted on 11/07/2007 4:23:40 PM PST by SandRat
Dozens of immigrant students took to Tucson streets with a peaceful message Tuesday.
"We're students, not criminals," said Erick Quintero, a 15-year-old sophomore at Catalina Magnet High School and one of the marchers.
About 100 bold young people marched some five miles from Midtown's Catalina Magnet High School to police headquarters Downtown.
Reminiscent of the mass protests last year over immigration reform, the students Tuesday hoped to convey unified opposition to the recent deporting of a classmate and his family.
The deportation started when school officials say they found marijuana on an undocumented student. It ended with the boy, his younger brother and both parents being sent to Mexico.
Quintero and the other student marchers are right to be upset. Schools in our community should be places where youngsters feel safe, regardless of their legal status.
But 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.
Schools, where students supposedly learn about civil rights and due process, are not outside the reach of Homeland Security's long, snaking arm.
But there was an understanding that it was not good for cops and immigration officers to be yanking kids from schools.
In last week's incident, immigration agents were called to Catalina High when a 17-year-old student was found with a small amount of pot. His parents were called, as they should be.
But when they couldn't produce a driver's license, they admitted they were undocumented. Should legal status matter in what is a rather routine occurrence at our high schools? No.
Yet police summoned federal immigration agents who apprehended the parents and child, then went to nearby Doolen Middle School to round up a younger sibling.
Human rights be damned.
Undocumented immigrants, the bulk of whom keep our economy running, are being chased further underground by heavy-handed incidents like this.
Some at the march said they worried smaller schoolyard infractions, like ditching or fighting, could result in their families being deported.
The students said they are tired of being made to feel unwanted and treated with naked disdain.
"How do they want us to feel secure and to participate in school if the Border Patrol can come in?" asked sophomore Brianda Quintero, 15, no relation to Erick Quintero.
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. While the incessant pounding is chasing some undocumented immigrants out of the country, it is doing something else.
It is pushing more people into the shadows of our society where there are no clinics, no parks, no schools. And where police can't even be trusted.
But it is also invigorating undocumented immigrants and legal immigrants across the country. Emboldened and threatened, they are organizing and protesting.
"We're doing something positive, something valuable. We're showing other students to stand up for what is right," said Daninza Bautista, a 15-year-old sophomore.
Listen to what the students are saying.
"They can't deport us all," Jorge Guerrero said defiantly. "How can you take out 12 million people?"
Sadly, we can.
But at what cost, both in human dignity and dollars?
This is the question the students ask.
Thankfully, by the end of the day police and school officials agreed that cops shouldn't be called to schools.
But the young marchers fear, like I do, that we are headed into a black hole where the power of vitriol fuels a lust to target a specific group of people.
As we seep into that abyss absent of decency and humanity, Tucson's immigrant students will likely march again in hopes of being heard over the hate-filled clamor. They should.
● This column is dedicated to the living spirit of Lorraine Lee, my Tucson heroine, who died Oct. 31. She bravely fought her cancer with grace all the while she continued to speak for those who don't have a voice. $2 7-day delivery - Subscribe to the Arizona Daily Star
I am so sick of these arrogant Mexicans. Deport as many illegals as possible. I don’t care anymore about the human fallout. This situation is way out of hand. They think they can overrule our laws and police.
Sick of ‘em!
PORTILLO is as common as Jones or Smith
One has to remember that the School Board and the City Council of Tucson is along with most of the residents are OpenBorderLiberals.
How about we start with you Mr. Gurrero?
Can't make this stuff up! That's gold, Jerry, GOLD!
Actually, Paco, you ARE criminals. You are stealing an education.
"We're doing something positive, something valuable. We're showing other students to stand up for what is right," said Daninza Bautista
No, Flaca. A positive and valuable thing to do would be to go back where you came from.
"They can't deport us all," Jorge Guerrero said defiantly
Maybe not, Pepe, but we can sure start with YOU.
"It's an OUTRAGE!" Cried Islamic Rage Boy.
Yes, it certainly is.
Not sure if you posted to the right person. I wouldn't go to mexico if it was all expenses paid. Mexico is a sh!thole as far as I am concerned.
Mexico did it.
What’s this guys’ email address? I want to rip this tan klan racist to shreds personally.
Male bovine excrement.
No surprise, it’s not lited in the paper.
Is that all you illegal alien criminal scumbags have going for you?
No Illegals, no burritos?
Guess again, Paco, I don’ need no steenkeen’ illegals to make my burritos!
Funny how they always threaten to take mexican food away.
Too late now, that chihuahua recipe is already out of the bag.
Yo quiero perro?
the ARE criminals.
They can get a J visa as students and go back home.
They want a free stay.
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