Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Hispanic Group Sues Over Arrests of Teens at High School
Anna Macias Aguayo
A Hispanic advocacy group on Wednesday sued the U.S. Border Patrol, Albuquerque Public Schools and police, alleging they violated three Hispanic students' rights to an education.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund alleged in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court here that the students' constitutional rights were violated when they were arrested on immigration charges at Del Norte High School last year.
The lawsuit contends campuses are safe havens for students.
"The case itself has broader implications,'' David Urias, lead attorney on the case for MALDEF, said Wednesday during a news conference on the grounds of the federal courthouse to announce the lawsuit. "It's with Latino and Hispanic students in school in general. We don't want federal and local law enforcement to single out Hispanic students and interrogate and seize them without cause while they're on school grounds.''
The lawsuit said the three students, all natives of Chihuahua, Mexico, were questioned in March 2004 by a police officer and school administrators. Border Patrol agents were called to campus after it was learned the students were illegal immigrants.
The students have been ordered to leave the U.S. by June 1. But MALDEF attorneys will ask authorities to allow the teenagers to return to the United States later to participate in the lawsuit.
Officials from the school district, Albuquerque police and the Border Patrol declined to comment.