by David Safier
Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has been the number one photo op for aspiring Democratic candidates in the area for years. Stand with Dupnik, show you believe in law and order.
Now we may not see as many candidates lining up for photos and endorsements. Dupnik's statement about checking students' immigration status, then kicking the illegals and their families out of the country was stupid and out of character. As a teacher who loved his students but had moments when I was so frustrated and furious, I might have suggested "enhanced interrogation" for a few of them, even without the "interrogation" part, I suspect Dupnik reached an "I've had enough" moment that temporarily blinded him. Those are moments when you take a time out, maybe yell and swear and stomp your feet in the presence of friends who will nod their heads and say, "I've been there, Clarence," maybe have a beer if you're so inclined. But keep your moment of temporary insanity out of the limelight. And if you've foolishly made a public statement and are called on it, don't repeat your mistake. Apologize earnestly and profusely.
But Dupnik's statement is out there, repeated by him to show he really meant it. So is an open letter condemning what he said that was published in today's Citizen and signed by a few, shall we say, notable Democrats. I'm running the whole thing here. If you don't read the entire letter, skip to the end and see who signed it. Wow!
An open letter to Sheriff Clarence Dupnik: Due to your long history
of involvement and commitment to the community, we were surprised by
your comments in the print media.
Children in schools, regardless of their immigration status, are not
the cause of our problems, nor should we publicly target them. We have
an obligation to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
It is our responsibility to ensure our children are always safe and
secure. All children are vulnerable, and we must protect them like they
are our own.
It is wrong to force teachers and school administrators to become
immigration officers. We remind you to uphold the law established by
the Supreme Court ruling, Plyer v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982).
This case established that children, though not U.S. citizens, are
considered a "person" and therefore protected under the Equal
Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
An additional cause of grave concern were your unsubstantiated
charges that 40 percent of Sunnyside School District students are
"illegal" and linking the South Side as the primary source of crime in
These false charges are inflammatory and prejudicial. Your comments
only further divide our community and debase a large part of the
The county electorate trusted you to protect and serve our
community, not to humiliate and instill fear. Every child is entitled
to an education regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation and
We urge you to apologize for your ill-advised comments and join us
in a rational and honest discussion about solving our problems together.
Richard ElÍas, chairman, Pima County Board of Supervisors
Regina Romero, Tucson vice mayor
Adelita Grijalva, Tucson Unified School District Governing Board
Eva Dong, Sunnyside School District Governing Board
Daniel Patterson, state representative, LD 29
Matt Heinz, M.D., state representative, LD 29
Linda Lopez, state senator, LD 29
Jorge Luis GarcÍa, Senate minority leader, LD 2
Olivia Cajero Bedford, state representative, LD 27
Phil Lopes, state representative, LD 27
Raúl M. Grijalva, U.S. representative, Arizona Congressional District 7