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Antonio Diaz Chacon, New Mexico Hero Who Saved Girl Says He's Undocumented

Posted by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 9:03 PM
  • 39 Replies

Antonio Diaz Chacon, New Mexico Hero Who Saved Girl Says He's Undocumented

 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The man who chased down a suspected child abductor and saved a 6-year-old girl from what could have been a horrible fate was honored as a hero Friday. But he is also gaining a new kind of celebrity: as a poster child of sorts for immigration rights in state and national immigration debates.

Antonio Diaz Chacon, 23, is married to an American and has been in the country for four years. But Chacon says he abandoned attempts to get legal residency because the process was difficult and expensive.

Diaz Chacon revealed his immigration status to Univision this week and confirmed to The Associated Press that he is illegal, prompting chatter on the Internet and social networking sites that his case underscored immigrant rights positions in two ongoing political debates.

Some argue he is an example of the kind of immigrant the federal government will now largely leave alone. The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that deportations would focus on criminals.

"As exceptional as his story is," said Christina Parker, a spokeswoman for Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso, Texas, "it points to the fact that most undocumented immigrants living in the United States are not criminals. He's more than not a criminal now. He's a hero."

Others used it to blast New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez's ongoing attempts to repeal a state law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain a driver's license. The governor has put the repeal, which was defeated in the regular session earlier this year, on the agenda for a September special session.

"Most are just working to support their families and to take away their driver's license would be detrimental to that," Parker said.

Diaz Chacon's status didn't play a role in Albuquerque's decision to honor his bravery. Mayor Richard Berry declared Friday Antonio Diaz Chacon Day in Albuquerque and held an afternoon ceremony where he presented Diaz Chacon a Spanish language plaque recognizing his bravery in jumping in his pickup and chasing the suspect until he crashed into a light pole. Diaz Chacon then rescued the girl as the driver of the disabled van ran into the desert. The suspect was arrested later by police.

Diaz Chacon, with his wife and two daughters, was all smiles at the ceremony, which was also attended by the officers who eventually arrested accused kidnapper Phillip Garcia, 29.

"He says he is really happy and content and there's no larger words for it," his wife Martha, who was translating from Spanish for him, said. "It is a real large happiness."

Asked in a telephone interview with the AP Thursday what would be the best reward for his actions, he said he had already gotten it: a thank you letter from the little girl.

In deciding to hold the ceremony, city officials said the question of Diaz Chacon's immigration status never even came up. Nor was it mentioned at the event.

"Today's proclamation for Mr. Diaz Chacon is to celebrate the heroic actions that he demonstrated when he saved the life of a 6-year-old girl in danger," the mayor's spokesman, Chris Ramirez, said in a statement. "Mayor Berry is proud of Mr. Diaz Chacon's actions and joins the community in honoring his heroism."

The governor's office said its position was unchanged and accused "special interest groups shamefully exploiting this man, who may or may not be here illegally, to further their cause."

In a statement, the governor also cited "a litany of well-documented cases of this policy that put the public at risk, one of which occurred literally a few blocks away at a Denny's restaurant in 2009 when gang members from El Salvador who had driver's licenses committed a murder."

Marcela Diaz, with the Santa Fe-based Somos Un Pueblo Unido, said the larger question was the fact that Diaz Chacon could acknowledge to being illegal in New Mexico without fear of being deported, but the same might not be the case in other states.

"The question I would ask is, `Would this have played out the same way if we were in Arizona, or Georgia or Alabama?'" she asked.

For his part, Diaz Chacon isn't worried and said he doesn't regret saving the girl.

"I'm not worried. Why should I?" he said. "It's not like I committed a murder or a felony."

by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 9:03 PM
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Replies (1-10):
.Bubbles.
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 9:38 PM

Seeing as he is married to an American all he has to do is go through with the paperwork and the test.  I have friends that went through it as teens. Not understanding why he can't get it done.

Okay but other than that yes this man did a very good thing.  Now that he is recognized as a hero maybe someone can point him in the right direction to get what he needs to get done done to become a citizen.

LoveMyBoyK
by Ruby Member on Aug. 19, 2011 at 9:43 PM

""As exceptional as his story is," said Christina Parker, a spokeswoman for Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso, Texas, "it points to the fact that most undocumented immigrants living in the United States are not criminals. He's more than not a criminal now. He's a hero.""

 

Um, excuse me, what?  So we can't point to criminal illegals (okay, I mean more criminal than just breaking the law by being here) and say that "it points to the fact that most undocumented immigrants living int he United States ARE criminals" because that's a gross and unfair exaggeration.  But she can say the other?  How is ONE persons act a pointer to the behavior of "most", whether good or bad?  SMH. 

.Bubbles.
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 9:59 PM

Haven't you figured it out?  If 1 person does a GOOD thing it reflects on everyone like them.  If 1 person does a BAD thing it doesn't represent the group at all and it is horrible to point that out.

Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

""As exceptional as his story is," said Christina Parker, a spokeswoman for Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso, Texas, "it points to the fact that most undocumented immigrants living in the United States are not criminals. He's more than not a criminal now. He's a hero.""


Um, excuse me, what?  So we can't point to criminal illegals (okay, I mean more criminal than just breaking the law by being here) and say that "it points to the fact that most undocumented immigrants living int he United States ARE criminals" because that's a gross and unfair exaggeration.  But she can say the other?  How is ONE persons act a pointer to the behavior of "most", whether good or bad?  SMH. 


rfurlongg
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 10:59 PM
An illegal Spanish speaker who is a good, non-lazy, person who might actually be a benefit to his community? Say it isn't so...
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Djsgurltx
by Bronze Member on Aug. 19, 2011 at 11:06 PM
Yay! Im so happy to read something positive like this.. Im so sick of reading negative things about illegals.. Thanx sweetie. That was an awesome story.. Im so happy that little girl was saved
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ecagle
by Kegel on Aug. 20, 2011 at 12:22 AM

 

Quoting .Bubbles.:

Seeing as he is married to an American all he has to do is go through with the paperwork and the test.  I have friends that went through it as teens. Not understanding why he can't get it done.

Okay but other than that yes this man did a very good thing.  Now that he is recognized as a hero maybe someone can point him in the right direction to get what he needs to get done done to become a citizen.

 Actually, it's not that simple.  We had good friends in which the wife was American and the husband was Brazilian...to get actual citizenship was lengthy AND expensive.  They had been married over 2 years and still hadn't been able to get it.  He ended up joining the Army to get it for free...

Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Aug. 20, 2011 at 1:16 AM
You are amazing for saving that little girl.

Now go fill out the correct paperwork like you're supposed to.
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Twisted.Jester
by on Aug. 20, 2011 at 1:20 AM

Yep, this man is now going to be the poster child for why we should have no immigration laws at all and just let everyone come streaming in.  Because Mexico provides us not with illegal immigrants, but with millions of freakin heroes just waiting for their moment to shine.

I already know what the replies would say if I posted one of the numerous accounts of illegals who are in our jails and tried to make a generalization about that.

Quoting .Bubbles.:

Haven't you figured it out?  If 1 person does a GOOD thing it reflects on everyone like them.  If 1 person does a BAD thing it doesn't represent the group at all and it is horrible to point that out.

Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

""As exceptional as his story is," said Christina Parker, a spokeswoman for Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso, Texas, "it points to the fact that most undocumented immigrants living in the United States are not criminals. He's more than not a criminal now. He's a hero.""

 

Um, excuse me, what?  So we can't point to criminal illegals (okay, I mean more criminal than just breaking the law by being here) and say that "it points to the fact that most undocumented immigrants living int he United States ARE criminals" because that's a gross and unfair exaggeration.  But she can say the other?  How is ONE persons act a pointer to the behavior of "most", whether good or bad?  SMH. 

 

 

.Bubbles.
by on Aug. 20, 2011 at 2:26 AM

Maybe the level of assistance varies from state to state, not financially but helping file the paperwork and making sure it goes through.  We have a very large number of immigrants where I live most of which have come in the last 20 years.  A lot of the students I went to school with had to become citizens when we were in high school and could take the tests.  There was actually someone to help them file the paperwork and study for the exam.  I'm sure their parents had to pay for it so I would have no idea about the expense of the whole thing.

Quoting ecagle:

 

Quoting .Bubbles.:

Seeing as he is married to an American all he has to do is go through with the paperwork and the test.  I have friends that went through it as teens. Not understanding why he can't get it done.

Okay but other than that yes this man did a very good thing.  Now that he is recognized as a hero maybe someone can point him in the right direction to get what he needs to get done done to become a citizen.

 Actually, it's not that simple.  We had good friends in which the wife was American and the husband was Brazilian...to get actual citizenship was lengthy AND expensive.  They had been married over 2 years and still hadn't been able to get it.  He ended up joining the Army to get it for free...


Iconoclast
by on Aug. 20, 2011 at 2:40 AM
Oh for shit sakes all they are saying is that it sucks the attention went from him saving someone to his status.
No lovemyboy it is never good to base a decision about everyone based on one person of that race actions. It's also bad that I had to say it. And same to you Bubbles. No not most undocumented illegals are criminals and no using the actions of one good or bad should be the norm for an entire group if so you and bubbles would be jerks because of your comments and that would make all cm'ers jerks. See how that is bad.
I love how this guy is guy is only a hero until something like his papers come into play. Well guess what he still did something a lot of asshole would have let slide and they would be nice and legal and a little girl would be dead.
Oh and twisted how about you post the millions of accounts of Those who are in and out of jail period or is being an illegal a special class of Prisoner. who cares if the person who committed that crime was illegal or not, a fricking crime was committed. Man this is bs.
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