Student demands to be arrested

July 31, 2008 7:27:25 PM PDT
Thursday a UNC student walked into the Alamance County Sheriff's Office and asked to be arrested for being Mexican.

He says a library worker's recent arrest was the last straw and the discrimination against Hispanics needs to stop.

Jose Duarte, who is a U.S. citizen, sees a little of himself in Marxavi Martinez. She is the 23-year-old library worker who was arrested after authorities received a tip she was using a deceased person's social security number.

"If you're going to arrest someone for drunk driving and then put them through deportation proceedings, that's one thing," Duarte said. "If you're going to arrest a librarian for being the girl who made good, for being the honor student and becoming a librarian, that's a whole different thing and I can't, we can't let this happen anymore. This has gone too far."

In protest, Duarte marched into the sheriff's department expecting to be arrested.

"Well, I'm Mexican and I don't have any documentation and I figured that's what you all are looking for so it's Christmas in July," Duarte told a deputy. "I'm right here."

"I guess the appropriate place for you to go would be the immigration office," the deputy replied.

The Alamance County Sheriff's Office has been under fire because of a program that allows it to check the legal status of inmates. Some feel the office is targeting Hispanics.

Sheriff Terry Johnson said that's not the case.

"When you take somebody else's identification or you lie to receive services, you have committed a felony," Sheriff Johnson said. "If you commit a felony in Alamance County, we are not sweeping it under the rug. I don't care if it was the president of the United States. "

Duarte was not arrested but he said he will continue to fight for Marxavi.


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