Securing our Borders: Detaining 96-Year-Olds
In Arizona, if you are Latino, you are treated differently than whites, no matter what your credentials are.
Raul Castro is ninety-six years old. He is also a former Governor of the state of Arizona, having been elected in 1974 and serving from 1974 through 1977. He was Arizona's first and only Hispanic governor. Castro also served as Ambassador to Bolivia and El Salvador in the 1960's, and he and his wife retired in Nogales, Arizona in 1981 after he served as Ambassador to Argentina.
Castro was traveling from his home in Nogales to celebrate his 96th birthday in Tucson when his vehicle was stopped by U. S. Border Patrol Agents at a checkpoint on Interstate 19. Castro's heart pacemaker triggered a radiation detector at the checkpoint, so the agents demanded he step out of his car and subject himself to a search and inspection. He stood for forty-five minutes, dressed in a suit in 100 degree heat before the agents allowed him back in his car. Anne Doan, a family friend who was driving his car, pleaded with the agents to let Castro remain in the air-conditioned car, but they refused her request.
In an interview, Castro told the Arizona Republic newspaper that he "was not thrilled" by the way he was treated. He acknowledged that the Border Patrol was "there to do a job," but that they need a better system to deal with elderly people. "Once I identified myself, who I was, and that I had been to the doctor, I was on medical care, I have a pacemaker in my heart, I would have thought that they would have been more considerate and said 'Keep on going', but that didn't happen."
Of course, had Castro been white instead of brown-skinned, the incident is likely to have never occurred.