96-year-old former AZ gov criticizes Border Patrol for hot weather detention

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96-year-old former AZ gov criticizes Border Patrol for hot weather detention

CREATED Jul 10, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - A former Arizona governor, detained by Border Patrol on his birthday, is calling for changes at the federal agency. Raul Castro said what happened to him at a southern checkpoint could happen to anyone and it's just not right.

Castro, governor in the 70s and a former U.S. ambassador to three countries, was on the way to his 96th birthday luncheon on June 12, traveling from Nogales to Tucson.

Castro told 9 On Your Side that Border Patrol agents stopped him and his driver at the Interstate 19 checkpoint near Tubac, Ariz. He said, and Border Patrol confirmed to other news outlets, that his vehicle triggered a radiation sensor and agents took Castro outside for questioning.

"I wasn't quite feeling well because I had been to the doctor the day before," Castro told 9 On Your Side.

On that visit, doctors implanted a new pacemaker in Castro, which he said agents eventually identified as part of the cause for alarm.

But before that point, Castro said, "It was extremely hot"--more than 100 degrees in the midday sun.

Family friend Anne Doan drove the governor that day and shared her concerns with agents.

"I said, 'This is a former governor of Arizona, he's been an ambassador to three countries, and he probably has a higher clearance than anyone of you will ever have. Would you be let him sit in the air conditioned car? It's too hot for him.'" Doan told 9 On Your Side. "They said, 'No, we'll be done in a few minutes.'"

Doan and Castro said his detention lasted at least 30 minutes.

Customs and Border Protection provided the following statement to the media:

"CBP detection equipment at the I-19 Border Patrol Checkpoint discovered a possible trace of radiation on Governor Castro. As required by policy, agents must identify and resolve all sources of radiation, regardless of the circumstances. In this instance, CBP agents were able to identify and resolve the source of the radiation reading. Gov. Castro was delayed for 10 minutes from 11:42 to 11:52 a.m. CBP regrets any inconvenience the delay may have caused."

9 On Your Side reporter Kevin Keen asked Doan, "When the Border Patrol says it was probably a ten-minute detention, what do you say to that?"

"It's impossible," she answered, shaking her head.

Doan and Castro are calling for changes, like letting the elderly wait in air conditioning and offering water at checkpoints.

"Don't forget just to be courteous in the field," Castro said, sharing advice he'd given Border Patrol agents before. "You have a job to do, but that doesn't give you the authoritity to walk all over people. You have to be considerate and understanding."

"Did you consider filing a complaint?" Keen asked Castro. "No, no. Not at all."

Keen asked Doan, "Do you think he should file a complaint?"

"He won't," she replied. "He's a gentleman, a statesman, a former governor. He knows that government has requirements and has to run things the way that they do."

Castro and Doan pointed out they do not have a problem with Border Patrol questioning people when something might not be right. They said it's how agents treat people when doing that which needs an overhaul.

Castro had another concern about detention.

"In my career in this world, I had about 50 so many odd years of practicing international law and immigration law," said Castro, a Mexican-born, naturalized U.S. citizen. "Immigration law has been one of my specialties. I learned that the question you ask the people is not: 'Where you were born?' That's immaterial. It's: 'What is your citizenship?' They failed to recognize that factor."