Teen on Way to School Is Deported

21 detained during Border Patrol, TSA raid at Old Town

An immigration rights group is fuming over the deportation of a group of people -- including three  minors -- who were at the Old Town trolley station earlier this week.

"We believe this is a flagrant violation of human right," said Pedro Rios with the American Friends Service Committee. "These raids have a way of terrorizing communities."

The Border Patrol confirmed that as many as 21 people were detained in the incident on Wednesday morning and said the agency worked in a "support role" with the TSA serving as the lead agency.

At times, emotions ran high during a news conference held by the American Friends Service Committee.

"All Latinos deserve to be respected and safe," said Anna Maria Benitez, the mother of one of the deported minors. She said her 16-year-old daughter was deported on her way to school. 

"I would expect these kinds of actions from a fascist dictatorship," said Dawn Miller, a teacher who works with the minors.

Rios said there may have been just cause for action but questioned the tactics of the government agencies involved in this case.

On Friday afternoon, the TSA released this statement regarding the incident at the trolley station:

"TSA has conducted more than 1,000 routine Visible Intermodal Prevention Response (VIPR) operations around the country in conjunction with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

VIPR operations are designed to promote the coordination of resources and provide a visible deterrent in aviation and other transportation systems. Partner agencies act in accordance with their own mission and regulations and enforce all local, state, and federal laws.

TSA officers did not detain individuals. 

TSA does not conduct racial profiling. All Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) and TSA officers have mandatory training requirements as it relates to racial profiling."

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