SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A San Diego teacher and her two children were detained by Border Patrol agents after she refused to tell them her citizenship status, out of protest after learning her her Latino friends are often questioned at checkpoints far from the Mexico border.
San Diego Shane Parmely wanted to bring attention to what she feels is discrimination and profiling on the part of the Border Patrol at inland immigration checkpoints.
“My entire life, everybody just got waved through. There was no stopping,” Parmely said.
Parmely has blonde hair and a light complexion.
So, when she was recently on vacation and driving through New Mexico and had to go through an immigration checkpoint, far from the border, she refused to tell them her citizenship.
Agents detained her and her children for about 90 minutes.
“We would have no civil rights if people didn’t question authority or challenge the status quo,” Parmely said.
Her friend, and fellow teacher, Gretel Rodriquez, said she would never dare do what Parmely did.
“Hopefully, she’s starting someone else to say, hey, needs to stop," Rodriguez said. "If everyone’s being asked and everyone is being interrogated I might accept it, but even then, we probably realize it’s not right."
“If it would inconvenience too many white people then the system would change, and that’s really the only time anything changes is when too many white people get inconvenienced, and it’s not worth enforcing the racist policy anymore,” Parmely said.
Border Patrol spokesperson Jackie Wasiluk emailed 10News the following statement:
“Border Patrol checkpoints are a critical tool for the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws. At a Border Patrol checkpoint, an agent may question a vehicle’s occupants about their citizenship, place of birth, and request document proof of immigration status, how legal status was obtained and make quick observations of what is in plain view in the interior of the vehicle.
During the course of the immigration inspection, if an occupant refuses to answer an agent’s questions, the agent may detain the driver for a reasonable amount of time until he or she can make a determination regarding the occupant’s immigration status.
It is agency policy that all individuals with whom we interact are treated with dignity and respect.”