As of this morning, Tucson immigrant rights activist Raul Alcaráz Ochoa remained in U.S. Border Patrol custody after being arrested yesterday. However, the Range has learned that Ochoa was released this afternoon and will attend today's rally in front of the Tucson Police Department, 270 S. Stone Ave., at 4 p.m.
The Range first reported on Alcaráz Ochoa's arrest yesterday afternoon and continued to post updates through the night.
This morning, Tucson attorney Isabel Garcia confirmed that she visited Ochoa last night at the BP facility off Golf Links Road and he was doing well. She also shared that she was unsure when he would be released and was concerned it wouldn't be until tomorrow. Because of the President's Day holiday, Garcia though Ochoa would not be able to go before the federal magistrate until tomorrow morning on charges of interfering with a federal officer.
According to a statement last night from immigrant rights organization Corazón de Tucson, Ochoa, a community organizer with the Southside Worker Center and Corazón, placed himself under a Border Patrol vehicle to prevent BP from detaining and deporting Tucsonan Rene Meza Huertha.
Meza Huertha was reportedly stopped by TPD at 1:30 p.m. and was unable to produced a valid driver's license. TPD called Border Patrol to detain Meza Huertha. Ochoa witnessed what was taking place, noting that Meza Huertha's six children and his pregnant wife were with him when he was stopped by police.
At least six Border Patrol agents and four TPD officers on the scene when Alcaráz Ochoa was pepper-sprayed by Border Patrol, dragged out and then arrested.
Although Ochoa was released today, Meza Huertha remains in custody, and supporters at today's rally are calling for his release and an immediate halt of the cooperation between TPD and Border Patrol.
"This is supposed to be an immigrant friendly city," Garcia told the Range this morning. "TPD didn't have to call Border Patrol. They are going against their own counsel. We can no longer point fingers at Pearce and Arpaio. It's here, too. It's TPD. These kinds of actions are damaging to Tucson."
Yesterday, a Border Patrol representative said a statement was waiting approval before being released to media. We're still waiting for that statement. We'll have more coverage later today of the rally at TPD and an update on Meza Huertha and Ochoa's cases.