On the way to his 96th birthday celebration, former Arizona Governor Raúl Héctor Castro was stopped and detained by the U.S. Border Patrol, and made to stand outside in 100-degree heat during the process.
Family friend and University of Arizona professor, Anne Doan, was driving Governor Castro from his home in Nogales, Arizona to the celebration in Tucson when they were pulled over by the Border Patrol. The agents said their radar had picked up a nuclear threat. When asked if anyone in the car had recently had a medical treatment, Governor Castro informed them that he had received a treatment at the hospital, involving his heart and pacemaker, the day before. An agent replied that the solution used must have set off the radar, but still ordered the Governor and Ms. Doan out of the car.
The two were directed to a tent for a secondary inspection. Doan asked if the Governor could remain in the air-conditioned car, due to his age and medical condition, but was told that was impossible. To add to the discomfort, the Governor was dressed in a suit. He was finally offered a chair under the tent, but had to wait for the agents to scan him with a wand—front and back—and to produce a document for him to sign before he was released.
As Castro and Doan started back to their car, they were again stopped, this time in full, blazing sunlight, and the Governor was asked for his identification. The agents registered the information from his ID before he was allowed to proceed to the car. The entire incident took 30-45 minutes, in the middle of a broiling desert.
Governor Castro was gracious, to say the least, when asked about the June 12th incident. “I feel they’ve got a job to do and I don’t condemn them for doing a job,” he told msnbc.com, “but once I was identified and I was 96 years of age and told them I had medical treatment the day before, I expected a little more.”
His companion, Professor Anne Doan, was less restrained. In a column for the Nogales International newspaper, she wrote, “I was helpless and overwhelmed by the incident. I felt the agents had no regard for the governor’s background or age or physical condition. I was embarrassed as I watched the governor being needlessly treated like a nuclear threat.”
Doan had informed the agents of Castro’s background. He was governor of Arizona from 1975-1977, at which time he was tapped by President Jimmy Carter to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina (1977-80). He was previously Ambassador to El Salvador (1964-68) and Bolivia (1968-69) under Presidents Johnson and Nixon.
Doan, also a resident of Nogales, went on to say, “I understand the Border Patrol has a job to do, but this was absolutely ridiculous. I feel less safe knowing that time and money is being wasted by agents who must check a box or file a paper knowing full well that there is no threat… 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.”
Then this occurs to her: “After all of this chaos in the Arizona heat I thought it was interesting that the agents never asked me for my identification, and I was driving the car. Maybe I was the nuclear threat.” Interesting, indeed. The white lady doesn’t even get asked for her ID.
Both Doan and Castro’s wife, Patricia, are calling for a change in Border Patrol procedures.