An immigration judge in Phoenix threw out a deportation case against four Arizona students on Thursday, ruling that they were illegally interrogated by immigration authorities during a high school trip they took to Niagara Falls three years ago.
The judge, John W. Richardson, held that immigration officers had engaged in egregious misconduct by stopping the students only because they are Hispanic, thereby violating due process, and then making disparaging remarks about their ethnicity, said their lawyer, Judy Flanagan.
In addition, she said, the three students who were then juveniles were unaccompanied by a parent or a lawyer when they were questioned, again contrary to law.
The four, all age 20 or 21, are Jaime Damien, Yuliana Huicochea, Luis Nava and Oscar Corona, who have lived in Arizona since they were young children, when they were brought to the United States from Mexico as illegal immigrants. Three of the four either are enrolled in or have completed college.
All four were members of an award-winning solar energy team that traveled to Buffalo for an international science competition in June 2002. When their teacher tried to take them to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, the students were apprehended by United States immigration officers because they lacked legal status.
I hope the government does not appeal this decision.