TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Students at Desert View High in Tucson staged a walkout on Monday to support Thomas Torres, an undocumented immigrant arrested by Border Patrol last week.
A Border Patrol spokesperson confirmed Torres was picked up Thursday, May 2, on a violation of immigration law.
CBP said agents were called to the area of Alvernon and Drexel by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
“USBP regularly assists local jurisdictions when an individual’s identity cannot immediately be determined; for example if he or she were pulled over without valid identification,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
As of Monday, May 6, Torres was still in federal custody.
The PCSD confirmed Torres was pulled over around 9:51 p.m. for a traffic violation.
Deputies said they towed the car Torres was driving because he did not have a license, the registration was expired, he didn’t have insurance and the license plate was suspended.
The PCSD said it called CBP after Torres admitted he was was an undocumented immigrant. He also told deputies his legal name is Thomas Torres-Maytorena, but he goes by Thomas Torres.
On a GoFundMe page, a family friend said Torres and his family moved from Mexico to Tucson when he was young.
The PCSD said it supports the students’ rights to exercise their First Amendment rights.
“Sheriff (Mark) Napier would like to thank the school administration for being present and commends the students on their peaceful protest,” the PCSD said in a news release. “Through observation, the Sheriff’s Department identified two members of CLEPC as potential organizers of the protest."
The Community Law Enforcement Partnership Commission is a group that has fought against the PCSD getting a federal grant called Operation Stonegarden.
The grant, about $1.5 million per year, was used by the Sheriff’s Department to buy equipment, pay overtime and to patrol the county’s vast remote areas.
The PCSD applied for and received the grant for years, until the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted to reject the grant in 2018.
The reason was CLEPC and the board said they were worried about using federal money to fund immigration patrols.
Sheriff Napier has repeatedly said it was a political move and a statement against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
Sheriff Napier has asked for the grant to be reinstated before.
On Tuesday morning, the Board of Supervisors is expected to take up the issues during a 9 a.m. meeting at 100 West Congress.
At least one group, the Coalición de Derechos Humanos, has said it will show up to the meeting to speak against the grant.
A Desert View student told reporters Torres, who was scheduled to graduate May 22, has attended Desert View for four years and was on the football team.
The rally, which began at 10 a.m., was held outside of a PCSD facility on East Benson Highway. That location is about four miles from the school.
After the rally ended at 10:40 a.m., the students loaded up in vehicles to go to lunch. They were expected to go back to class after that.
According to records from Pima County Justice Court, Torres has a hearing schedule for early Tuesday morning. He is facing charges of marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.