ESCONDIDO: Rights group decries deportation of family

By Edward Sifuentes

The deportation of a 9-year-old girl, her mother and her grandmother after a minor traffic violation earlier this month has sparked criticism from immigrant rights groups, who say that law enforcement officers should not enforce immigration laws, particularly as a result of minor violations.

Minerva Santos was driving her 9-year-old daughter, Nadia, to the doctor on a recent Friday morning, when she was stopped by a San Diego County sheriff’s deputy in Escondido for making an illegal turn. Less than one hour later, Santos, her daughter and her mother were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol agents and were deported.

“What the officers in this case are doing is making subjective determinations of what the right thing to do is, and they are wrong, not just on legal grounds but wrong from the perspective of needing to protect all the residents of the area,” said Victor Torres, spokesman for El Grupo, an umbrella organization for civil and human rights groups.

“No one will want to report crimes, criminals will go unprosecuted, and that bodes ill for all the residents,” Torres said.