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Mar 18, 2013 12:18 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Protesters say deportations break up American families

TUCSON - Immigration advocates protested the Tucson Police Department Sunday, saying deportations break up families.

They pointed to the case of Rene Huerta Meza, an illegal immigrant. He was stopped by Tucson Police last month. TPD called Border Patrol and he was deported. He left behind 6 kids who are American citizens, according to the protesters.

Tucson Police have said SB 1070 takes away their discretion. They say they are required to check papers if something seems suspicious.

"The contacting and checking for immigration status was consistent with what the law requires," TPD Lt. Fabian Pacheco said about the case in an interview last month.

Protesters said police should simply cite and release suspected undocumented immigrants.

"Police officers are acting as immigration agents," Dulce Juarez said, "and that's why people are taking the streets at this moment. It's because we cannot tolerate any more injustices."

Demonstrators also do not want police detaining people for extended amounts of time, just to wait for Border Patrol.

"As a society, who are we?" Barbara Little asked. "We're bullies. We're not promoting the goodness that is in each and every person."

They want police to collect and report data about the race of people they stop for public inspection.

"I see families being torn apart," Camilo Castrillo said, "so when people are affected, we're all affected."

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