The curious case of Mark Martinez: Justice or Just Us?

By Baldo Garza on 03/30/2011 @ 06:00 PM

Tags: immigration, civil rights

This is but one of thousands of stories of young people with a limited future in our country. Understand how remarkable this last statement is. In our country, a specific group of young people have no future.

A young man boarded a bus on a trip to Arkansas to attend a school to become a pastor. On his way to Arkansas, while crossing the border between two states, the bus was boarded by Border Patrol Agents. This is a common practice in this war on terrorism by the Department of Homeland Security.

What criteria used to identify this young man for questioning, perhaps we will not know. Unfortunately, this young man was asked where he was born. He replied in México. Mark was removed from the bus and taken to a detention facility where he was processed. Further questioning, without counsel, occurred. What 19 year old can contest the trained interrogation process by himself?

Finally, after contacting his parents in his home state, he was granted a bond in the amount of $4000. During the times I have appeared for clients in removal proceedings, bonds in the amount of $4000, $5000 or even $7500 are not uncommon. Despite the times we are in and the state of the economy, his parents were able to get the money and post a bond. Mark was allowed to fly back to his home state and returned to his parents. How many others are locked up with no way to go home, sometimes ICE doesn’t even know.

Just a little about Mark. Mark was brought to the United States with his parents when he was five years old for a brighter future. Mark grew up and attended school here in this country. He graduated from high school and has no criminal record.

My question is how much longer will we continue this process? Why are these young people detained? Is it “Justice” or “Just us” mentality? During the last four years, more than 1,442,977 people have been removed; of these, 894,423 were non-criminal. [1] What has this done to these families?

Mark needs our help. I can sense his parents fear and concern. Unfortunately, as with most detainees, access to legal help is not within reach. For more information about how to help people like Mark, please contact the LULAC National Civil Rights Committee.

As a last note, our committee held a Civil Rights Symposium at the Southern Methodist University on March, 26, 2011. Other Civil Rights Symposiums are in the planning stages. If you would like to host a Civil Rights Symposium in your area, please contact me at

*Names and locations have been changed to protect the identity of the person.


1. ICE Total removals as of December 7, 2010.

Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and not necessarily shared by the LULAC National Office.


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