TUCSON -- I joined a letter organized by my Congressman, Raul Grijalva (D-AZ7), voicing concerns with Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik's recent anti-immigrant, anti-southside statements. I respect Dupnik, but I am concerned with his comments and wanted to join other leaders in asking for fairness. The letter was sent to Dupnik today, and is included in full below.
Sheriff Dupnik -- Due to your long history of involvement and commitment to the entire community, we were surprised by your comments in the print media. Children attending schools, regardless of their immigration status, are not the cause of our problems, nor should we publicly target them. We have an obligation to protect those who cannot protect themselves. It is our responsibility to ensure that our children are always safe and secure. All children are vulnerable and we must protect them like they were our own.
It is wrong to force teachers and school administrators to become immigration officers. We remind you to uphold the law that was established by the Supreme Court ruling, Plyer v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982). This case established that children, though not citizens of the United States, are considered a “person” and therefore, protected under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
An additional cause of grave concern were your unsubstantiated charges that 40% of students in the Sunnyside School District are “illegal” and linking the Southside as the primary source of all crime in Pima County. These false charges are inflammatory and prejudicial. Your comments only further divide our community and debase a large part of the population.
The Pima County electorate trusted you to protect and serve our community, not to humiliate and instill fear. Every child is entitled to an education regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation and status.
We urge you to apologize for your ill-advised comments and join us in a rational and honest discussion about solving our problems together.
Raúl M. Grijalva, U.S. Congressman, Arizona Congressional District 7
Richard Elias, Chairman, Pima County Board of Supervisors
Regina Romero, Vice-Mayor, City of Tucson
Adelita Grijalva, Tucson Unified School District Governing Board
Eva Dong, Sunnyside School District Governing Board
Daniel Patterson, State Representative-LD29, Arizona State Legislature
Matt Heinz, M.D., State Representative-LD29, Arizona State Legislature
Linda Lopez, Senate Minority Whip-LD29, Arizona State Legislature
Jorge Luis Garcia, Senate Minority Leader-LD27, Arizona State Legislature
Olivia Cajero Bedford, State Representative-LD27, Arizona State Legislature
Phil Lopes, State Representative-LD27, Arizona State Legislature