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Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Mexico Considers Legalizing Many Narcotics

Washington Post story here.  [Mark Godsey]  This story has a particular Tucson resonance (the location of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law).  We are an hour from the border.  In conversations over the years with law students who are from Tucson, and therefore went to one of the local high schools, I have heard quite colorful stories about minors crossing the border for adventures that are impossible on the Arizona side of the line.  One student told me how three way calling, cell phones, and a friend with a compliant little brother or sister made it possible to convince even a sophisticated parent with caller ID that one was at a sleepover with Megan, when one was really in Mexico, partying.  As a parent, I am relieved that Arizona recently passed a law allowing police to prevent minors from crossing the border without parental permission. [Jack Chin]

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Comments

I keep hearing that the police always have a right to detain people for questioning. Couldn't the police always stop minors from illegally crossing the border without papers and not at a standard crossing post? If a minor crosses couldn't a guard detain for questioning untill a parent verifies that the child is not running away?

Posted by: Justice Moor | May 2, 2006 2:44:33 PM

I keep hearing that the police always have a right to detain people for questioning. Couldn't the police always stop minors from illegally crossing the border without papers and not at a standard crossing post? If a minor crosses couldn't a guard detain for questioning untill a parent verifies that the child is not running away?

[Sure, but before the new Arizona law, teens could lawfully cross at the border for day trips. In the absence of evidence that they were running away (and most of course were not) there was nothing the police could do. -- Jack Chin]

Posted by: Justice Moor | May 2, 2006 2:46:00 PM

Jack, I really don't see your or the Governor's big concern. Of all those kids crossing for day trips, the vast, vast majority returned unharmed. What's more, for every horror story you can name of those who didn't, there are several minors who died in drunk driving accidents on the US side. I think the emphasis on drinking in Mexico is misplaced - a cheap and inadequate substitute for teaching kids responsibility in whatever setting they're in.

I made a trek to Nuevo Laredo at 18 about which my own mother died without ever learning the sordid details, and frankly she might have passed sooner if she'd known them. Even in retrospect, though, and as the parent of a 21-year old, I fail to see the harm. Truth is, if I hadn't gone to Mexico that weekend we'd have been drinking somewhere else - you can't stop kids from being 18, for heaven's sake. Banning long-time rites of passage like junkets to border towns, IMO, will only romanticize the experience among youth, increase fake ID use, and encourage greater risk taking instead of deterring it.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | May 3, 2006 6:48:07 AM

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