Jul 12, 2013 2:25 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Protester crawls under Border Patrol vehicle to impede agents

TUCSON - Border Patrol agents arrested a protester for crawling under their vehicle Thursday.

It was the second time Raul Ochoa has used the tactic to impede agents from taking a suspected illegal immigrant into custody. The other incident was last February.

Around 12:30 p.m. Thursday, a Tucson Police officer stopped Ruben Espinoza near 16th Avenue and Ajo Way. He did not use his turn signal, then police found out he had no driver's license. They called Border Patrol because of Arizona's immigration law, SB 1070.

Espinoza was released a few hours later and appreciated Ochoa's help.

"I don't know how he found out, but I'm glad he was there," Espinoza said. "Raul's a great person. Hope he gets out soon."

Espinoza did not want to answer questions about his legal status, only saying he is a Dreamer, meaning he may be considered legally in the United States because he has been in the country so long and finished high school.

"If they do this to a Dreamer, imagine everybody else," he said. "We all have families. I have a daughter."

Espinoza said he has applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status, but the paperwork is not finished.

Arizona and Nebraska are the only states where officials have specifically stated DACA recipients are not eligible for driver's licenses, according to the National Immigration Law Center. That may have been why Espinoza did not have one, but he did not want to confirm that.

"I'm angry because it's basically like they laugh in your face," Espinoza said, "making fun of you. Treat you bad."

The Tucson Police Department's policy is that officers are required to call Border Patrol with a criminal stop. Sgt. Chris Widmer said state law does not give them a choice.

"We are mandated through SB 1070, when we're going to make an arrest for a criminal violation," Widmer said. "Whether we do it, or whether the jail does it, to contact Border Patrol to ensure that the person we're arresting is in the country legally."

Ochoa is a Lawfully Admitted Permanent Resident, according to Customs and Border Protection.

Ochoa was released around 9 p.m. Thursday night, according to one of his friends.


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