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Protest held after BP apprehends Desert View student

TUCSON – About 120 local high school students stepped out Monday morning and marched in the name of a classmate who was reportedly taken into Border Patrol custody last Thursday.

According to a spokesperson from Sunnyside Unified School District, Thomas Torres, a senior and football player at Desert View High School, was apprehended by Border Patrol agents following a traffic stop by Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

PCSD said a deputy pulled over Torres at 9:46 p.m. Thursday in reference to a mandatory insurance suspension on a vehicle. When the deputy asked Torres for identification, he allegedly was unable to produce a valid form of identification.

After attempting to contact his family to verify the teenager’s identity, Torres reportedly told the deputy that “he was in the country illegally.” This prompted the deputy to contact Border Patrol.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a statement sharing their account of the situation.

On May 2, a Tucson Station Border Patrol agent responded to a request to assist a Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy near Alvernon and Drexel. Upon arrival at the location the agent encountered an individual in violation of immigration law. The individual, a Mexican citizen, was placed under arrest and transported to the Tucson Station for further investigation and processing. The individual remains in Border Patrol custody facing immigration charges.

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.

In response to the incident, students marched from Desert View High School to PCSD headquarters, located at 1750 E. Benson Hwy, Monday morning.

“I think it’s the initial reaction, right? That one of their classmates is being held in custody,” Victor Mercado, SUSD public information officer said. “I think part of the anxiety also is they are not sure where he is being held and for how long.”

Mercado said Torres will appear in court on May 22, the same day as Desert View High School’s graduation.

According to PCSD, Torres was cited for displaying a plate suspended for financial responsibility, no mandatory insurance, no valid driver’s license and no current registration in reference to the initial traffic stop.

Court records show the 18-year-old is also scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday on an unrelated marijuana possession misdemeanor.

This is a developing story.

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