MARCH 05, 2008
The deportation of a high school student discovered to be in the country illegally after getting caught driving without a license has ignited accusations that the arresting officer violated a Supreme Court ruling that makes public schools safe havens for illegal aliens.
The 18-year-old pregnant student at Roswell High in southeastern New Mexico was ticketed for blocking a fire lane outside a school and driving without a license. When the teenager informed the policeman that she didn’t have a license, he asked for proof of legal U.S. residency and actually gave her several days to produce the information.
When Karina Acosta failed to provide proof of residency the officer called her into a campus office and notified immigration officials who deported her to her native Chihuahua Mexico. Outrage ensued among students and residents who accused police of racism and discrimination. Roswell is located just 200 miles from the Mexican border and a high percentage of its 45,000 residents are in the country illegally.
School administrators and teachers say police violated a 1982 Supreme Court ruling (Plyler v. Doe) that guarantees children who are in the country illegally the right to a free public education and says schools cannot inquire about their immigration status. They also point out that federal authorities have a long standing policy of not enforcing immigration laws on school grounds.
Roswell’s chief of police says his veteran officer was investigating a crime and that police officers may ask people about their immigration status in the course of a criminal investigation. Still, immigration advocates maintain that making students vulnerable to deportation at school is making a mockery of their right to public education. Never mind that the student is legally an adult, who violates local laws and repeatedly risks public safety.
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