Feb 18, 2013 8:13 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Tucsonans protest arrest of immigration activist

TUCSON - Dozens of protesters gathered at a Tucson Police Department to protest the arrest of an immigration activist.

It stems from an incident Sunday after Raul Ochoa, a legal resident and activist, crawled underneath a Border Patrol agent's car after TPD officers had contacted Border Patrol who arrested a 30-year-old man for his immigration status.

The protest was originally planned to demand the release of Raul Ochoa. Since Ochoa was released Monday afternoon, activists used the demonstration to send a bigger message, one directed against SB 1070, Arizona's tough immigration law.

Lt. Fabian Pacheco told News 4 Tucson that a 911 about children being put into a car trunk call led to the traffic stop involving Rene Huerta Meza.

Pacheco said a review of his records indicated that his driving priveliges had been suspended. TPD officers checked his immigraiton status and found Huerta Meza to be in the country illegally.

Pacheco said everything was done by the book in this situation.

"The contacting and checking for immigration status was consistent with what the law requires...so other than that...that's what led up to yesterday's event," Pacheco said.

Raul Ochoa witnessed what was going on and intervened, positioning himself underneath Border Patrol's vehicle until they took him into custody.

"I asked and said why do you need to call border patrol when the reason you pulled them over had nothing to do with their immigration status," Ochoa told News 4 Tucson shortly after he was released.

Border Patrol agents said in a statement that he was arrested, "after failing to respond to repeated warnings and refusing to move from beneath the vehicle."

While Ochoa walks free, he said it's the families that are placed into a culture of fear.

"We keep seeing families separated by border patrol by local police calling border patrol..." Ochoa said, adding: "By detentions of families, by deportations, by the deaths at the border so I said enough is enough."


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