Not first time Arizona governor stopped

EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Ariz. Gov. Castro tells Salon he wasn't shocked when stopped recently: It's happened twice before

Topics: Arizona, Immigration, Raul Castro, Supreme Court, SB 1070,

Not first time Arizona governor stopped"It's not like I'm a gangbanger who was going to run away," Castro tells Salon.(Credit: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

What started as a “ridiculous” Border Patrol incident along Interstate 19 in southern Arizona may be spiraling into a full-scale public relations debacle for a border security gone awry.  Nearly three weeks after former Arizona Gov. Raúl Castro triggered a checkpoint’s radiation security system on June 12, the story of the 96-year-old’s brief but disturbing detainment in the brutal Sonoran Desert heat for more than a half-hour has spread from a local newspaper commentary to national news.

But there’s more: This was the third time such an incident has happened to Castro, who was elected in 1974 as the first (and only) Mexican American governor of Arizona.

“I’ve worked on immigration matters all of my life, as an ambassador, a governor and on the border,” Castro told me in a phone interview from his home in Nogales, Ariz. “But this was really bad judgment.”

An outspoken opponent to Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 “papers please” law,  Castro recalled the other two times he had to fend off stumbling Border Patrol efforts.

Nearly half century ago, working on the front fence of his Tucson horse farm in his work clothes, Castro was stopped by a passing Border Patrol car. The agents asked if he had his work card. Castro said no. When they asked whom he worked for, Castro referred to “the señorita inside.” The agents nearly arrested Castro until he showed them the sign by his farm entrance: “Judge Castro.” A former Pima County prosecutor, Castro had become the first Latino Superior Court justice in the state in the 1960s.

A decade later, the Border Patrol struck again.

“I once had a home in San Diego,” Castro said. “One day my daughter and I returned and were stopped by Border Patrol. ‘Hey, where were you born? I wasn’t about to lie. I was born in Mexico, I said. The guard starts questioning me. ‘What about that young lady?’ She was born in Japan, I said, during the Korean War. He thought we were being smart. He didn’t want to let us go.  In the meantime, someone came by and recognized me. Governor, how are you?”



Writing in the Nogales International, Castro’s friend and driver Anne Doan triggered the media interest in Castro’s recent Border Patrol fiasco with a commentary that described the “appalling” and “humiliating” treatment of the elder statesman last month.  En route to a planned birthday party for the 96-year-old icon in Tucson, Doan and the frail Castro were forced to exit their vehicle at the Tubac, Ariz., checkpoint in near 100-degree weather when Castro’s earlier medical treatment for his pacemaker set off the checkpoint’s radiation system. Despite Doan’s pleas for Castro’s health, the Border Patrol insisted he waited outside without air-conditioning.

The Border Patrol’s birthday gift infuriated Castro, who served as ambassador to El Salvador and Bolivia in the 1960s, and as ambassador to Argentina under President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1980.

“I’m 96 years old,” he said.  “It’s not like I’m a gangbanger who was going to run away.”

“They knew it was the medical procedure that was coming up on their radar,” Doan wrote, describing the Border Patrol’s apparent indifference to Castro’s earlier treatment at Tucson Heart Hospital.

“At that point I was begging them to leave him alone. They brought out a document for him to fill out and sign. They had a machine they ran up and down his body front and back. Finally they released us and as we were walking back to the car they stopped him and said they had to see his identification. We were standing out in the sun, by this time, and Gov. Castro reached for his identification and showed it to the agent, they registered the information they needed from his identification and they released us, again.

While Castro has refused to scold the Border Patrol for any apparent discrimination or profiling, he again rebuked its “poor judgment,” considering the possible health concerns for the elderly in the summer heat.

Doan was less charitable in her Op-Ed:

“This is the anger that exists with that checkpoint. We residents understand why it is there, but are reminded every day at how wasteful and ineffective it is. I am sorry, but in America, Americans should be able to drive from one city to the next without being detained and questioned by other Americans simply to file paperwork.”

This incident comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s recent split decision on the state’s notorious immigration law, which still allowed the “papers, please” provision of the law to stand. Meanwhile, apprehensions of undocumented entries have plummeted to the lowest level since Castro was governor of the state in 1974.

Jeff Biggers's next book, "State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream" (Nation Books) is due out in September.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 22
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Talking Heads, 1977
    This was their first weekend as a foursome at CBGB’s, after adding Jerry Harrison, before they started recording the LP “Talking Heads: 77.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith, Bowery 1976
    Patti lit up by the Bowery streetlights. I tapped her on the shoulder, asked if I could do a picture, took two shots and everyone went back to what they were doing. 1/4 second at f/5.6 no tripod.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Blondie, 1977
    This was taken at the Punk Magazine Benefit show. According to Chris Stein (seated, on slide guitar), they were playing “Little Red Rooster.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    No Wave Punks, Bowery Summer 1978
    They were sitting just like this when I walked out of CBGB's. Me: “Don’t move” They didn’t. L to R: Harold Paris, Kristian Hoffman, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips, Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Jim Sclavunos, Bradley Field, Liz Seidman.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell + Bob Quine, 1978
    Richard Hell and the Voidoids, playing CBGB's in 1978, with Richard’s peerless guitar player Robert Quine. Sorely missed, Quine died in 2004.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bathroom, 1977
    This photograph of mine was used to create the “replica” CBGB's bathroom in the Punk Couture show last summer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So I got into the Met with a bathroom photo.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Stiv Bators + Divine, 1978
    Stiv Bators, Divine and the Dead Boys at the Blitz Benefit show for injured Dead Boys drummer Johnny Blitz.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977
    “The kids are all hopped up and ready to go…” View from the unique "side stage" at CBGB's that you had to walk past to get to the basement bathrooms.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Klaus Nomi, Christopher Parker, Jim Jarmusch – Bowery 1978
    Jarmusch was still in film school, Parker was starring in Jim’s first film "Permanent Vacation" and Klaus just appeared out of nowhere.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Hilly Kristal, Bowery 1977
    When I used to show people this picture of owner Hilly Kristal, they would ask me “Why did you photograph that guy? He’s not a punk!” Now they know why. None of these pictures would have existed without Hilly Kristal.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Dictators, Bowery 1976
    Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators with his girlfriend Jody. I took this shot as a thank you for him returning the wallet I’d lost the night before at CBGB's. He doesn’t like that I tell people he returned it with everything in it.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Alex Chilton, Bowery 1977
    We were on the median strip on the Bowery shooting what became a 45 single sleeve for Alex’s “Bangkok.” A drop of rain landed on the camera lens by accident. Definitely a lucky night!

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery view, 1977
    The view from across the Bowery in the summer of 1977.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977 – never before printed
    I loved shooting The Ramones. They would play two sets a night, four nights a week at CBGB's, and I’d be there for all of them. This shot is notable for Johnny playing a Strat, rather than his usual Mosrite. Maybe he’d just broken a string. Love that hair.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell, Bowery 1977 – never before printed
    Richard exiting CBGB's with his guitar at 4am, about to step into a Bowery rainstorm. I’ve always printed the shots of him in the rain, but this one is a real standout to me now.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith + Ronnie Spector, 1979
    May 24th – Bob Dylan Birthday show – Patti “invited” everyone at that night’s Palladium show on 14th Street down to CBGB's to celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday. Here, Patti and Ronnie are doing “Be My Baby.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Legs McNeil, 1977
    Legs, ready for his close-up, near the front door of CBGB's.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Suicide, 1977
    Rev and Alan Vega – I thought Alan was going to hit me with that chain. This was the Punk Magazine Benefit show.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ian Hunter and Fans, outside bathroom
    I always think of “All the Young Dudes” when I look at this shot. These fans had caught Ian Hunter in the CBGB's basement outside the bathrooms, and I just stepped in to record the moment.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Tommy Ramone, 1977
    Only at CBGB's could I have gotten this shot of Tommy Ramone seen through Johnny Ramones legs.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery 4am, 1977
    End of the night garbage run. Time to go home.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>