Radiation Profiling at the Border
When family friend Anne Doan drove former Arizona Gov. Raul Castro up to the Border Patrol checkpoint on I-19 earlier this month, the agent had an unusual question.
She asked if Castro had had a recent medical procedure, Doan said.
The question led to a half-hour detention of the former governor that displayed the ability of Border Patrol agents to detect small doses of radiation.
For Doan, it also showed the agents’ inability to adequately accommodate frail people in the midsummer heat.
“I’m not saying they’re bad people,” Doan said. “They were doing their job, but they weren’t using their heads.”
A Border Patrol spokesman did not respond to questions about the incident Friday afternoon.
The trip began late in the morning of June 12, with Doan driving Castro, a former ambassador to three countries as well as ex-governor, from his home in Nogales to a birthday lunch at the Mountain Oyster Club in Tucson.
Castro turned 96 that day, and he tries to stay inside during the heat of the day, Doan said.
They arrived at the checkpoint near Tubac a little before noon, and the agent immediately raised the medical question, Doan said. As it happened, Castro had received a medical procedure at Tucson Heart Hospital the previous day.
Apparently, the procedure involved radiation, Castro said, because the agent had detected radiation coming from the vehicle Doan was driving. In a brief phone interview, Castro said the procedure followed up an earlier pacemaker procedure he had in March.
Agents wear small radiation-detection devices on their belts, said Elyse Golob, executive director of the National Center for Border Security and Immigration at the University of Arizona.