All Raul Alcaraz wanted was to stop the deportation of a father of six in Tucson this past Sunday. That's why he placed himself underneath the parked border patrol car carrying Rene Meza, a 30-year-old undocumented immigrant from Mexico. Alcaraz, a permanent legal resident and immigrant rights activist in Tucson, refused to move until he was pepper-sprayed and then arrested.
The following day the incident sparked a heated protest in front of the Tucson police department. The focus was SB 1070, the controversial Arizona law that requires police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained.
Meza's arrest was the result of a Sunday call to the Tucson police department from someone expressing concern over a possible child abduction taking place in Meza's car. When police officers stopped Meza, they found five children in the car. Four of them were under five years of age and were not in proper safety seats, according to the Los Angeles Times. The children were Meza's and his girlfriend, Perla Lopez's, own kids. Lopez was also in the car.
Meza was unable to produce a valid driver's license and when police checked his immigration status, as required by SB 1070, they found out that he's in the country illegally, and called Border Patrol agents.
Alcaraz was on his way to a community meeting when he witnessed what was happening to Meza. According to the AP Alcaraz saw the children crying as their father got in the police car. At that point he decided to interfere with the arrest by throwing himself under the border patrol car.
"I felt that it was important to show that this was not ok, that this was an injustice, this was immoral," said Alcaraz to Univision after he was released on Monday. "Now that immigration reform is the big issue right now, we want to highlight that there's still family separation, that there's still deportation and detentions and that should not take place. If we're talking about immigration reform we should start by ending all those unfair practices against our community."
Rene Meza is still under Border Patrol custody.