PHOENIX — Former Arizona Gov. Raul Castro, who in the 1970s served as the state’s first and only Hispanic governor, was detained at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint after the vehicle he was traveling in triggered a radiation sensor.
The Arizona Republic reported that Castro was briefly detained June 12 at a checkpoint on Interstate 19 as he was traveling from his home in Nogales, Ariz., to celebrate his 96th birthday in Tucson. The Mexican-born Castro was governor of Arizona from 1974 to 1977.
Castro said agents questioned him outside his vehicle in 100-degree heat. He said he explained to them that he had undergone hospital testing on his pacemaker the previous day, likely triggering the sensor.
Castro told The Associated Press on Thursday that he believed the stop was prompted by a monitor being set off, not on his appearance.
“I don’t think being Hispanic had anything to do with it,” Castro said. He said he was detained for 40 to 45 minutes; the federal agency said it lasted 10 minutes.
The former governor downplayed the detention, noting that he wasn’t pleased with the way he was treated but didn’t file a complaint. He said that he understands Border Patrol agents are “there to do a job” but that they need a better system for dealing with elderly people. He said he was exposed to the sun during part of the questioning.
“Once I identified myself, who I was, and that I had been to the doctor, I was under medical care, I have a pacemaker on my heart, (I would have thought) that they would have been more considerate and said, ‘Keep on going.’ But that didn’t happen,” Castro said.