Activist Isabel Garcia is not known for keeping a civil tongue, but last week her notorious incivility shocked a seasoned Border Patrol agent and other attendees of the Lonnie Schwartz trial.
Garcia, a vocal critic of law enforcement officers and agencies, caused a “ruckus” in an elevator in the federal courthouse in Tucson. According to a post on the National Border Patrol Council’s Local 2544 (NBPC Local 2544), Garcia claimed the “elevator smelled like sulfur because of Local 2544’s presence.”
“This lady has been a protester against law enforcement,” read the NBPC Local 2544 post, “particularly agents for a long time now. She is another disgruntled human that finds pleasure in seeking revenge at any costs with no morals or interest in justice. Local 2544 is hopeful that the jury is able to see the truth and not be intimidated by these individuals seeking revenge against an innocent agent.”
Few would argue with the group’s assessment of Garcia. Earlier this month, while serving as an appointee of Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias on the County’s Community Law Enforcement Partnership Commission, Garcia argued against allowing Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier to attend the Commission’s meetings. Napier, not known as a border security hawk, is a non-voting member of the Commission. Garcia offered her anti-Napier comments in support of Commission co-chair Zaira Livier Serrato, who claimed Napier made her uncomfortable due to his comments about the need for border security and funds provided through the federal government’s Stonegarden grant.
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According to County records, the Commission “was created on February 20, 2018 as one of five conditions to accept Operation Stonegarden funds for Federal Fiscal Year 2017.” Since then the role of the Commission was broadened.
With the Commission’s support, Pima County supervisors Elias, Sharon Bronson, and Ramon Valadez voted to reject the Stonegarden monies as part of the “Resist Trump Movement.” They rejected the money despite the fact that they all voted to accept the monies during the Obama administration years.
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Zaira Livier Serrato first came into public view for her role in the successful effort to shut down a small Tucson restaurant, Cup It Up. The restaurant came under fire for comments in support of President Trump in a Facebook post.
Surrounding law enforcement agencies were stunned by the rejection. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb argued that the rejection would have a negative effect on of all of Arizona by creating a “soft zone there for the cartels; for the drugs and the human trafficking to come in.”
Human trafficking is lucrative for the cartels and the non-profits, who claim to serve the victims.
In 2011, Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) officials were notified by the U.S. Department of Justice that they must return over $3.5 million the District had illegally funneled to Garcia’s open border organization, Derechos Humanos.
More specifically, funds intended for the most disadvantaged children were being used by radicals to create “community organizers.”
According to an article published in the Arizona Daily Independent in 2014:
Title 1 monies are federal dollars intended for the educational needs of economically disadvantaged students. Most educators regard Title 1 monies as precious and as vulnerable as the intended recipients. At least one TUSD staff member did not share that sentiment and began a scheme that lasted nearly five years.
The scheme was operated out of the Rose Family and Wellness Center. The scheme was described on District materials as, “a grass roots group of community residents who work as promotoras in our community. Derechos Humanos/Immigration issues is one of the target areas of our work. We organize groups to participate in activities to strengthen our Latino voice, involvement and education.” At the time they claimed that more than “150 women have undergone training to participate in the program.”
The scheme began to unravel in August 2010 when the Arizona Department of Education received information from a citizen in the District. The concerned citizen “questioned whether the use of Title 1 funds was allowable for the Promotoras program” at TUSD. The ADE determined that the citizen’s concerns had merit, and an investigation began.
On September 16, Robert Ross, legal counsel for TUSD released a statement saying that the District had “taken steps to end its support of an adult-education program connected with “Promotoras del Barrio,” after identifying disallowable uses of federal Title I funds. Over time, the Promotoras del Barrio activities expanded from literacy programs into tuition for areas not covered by Title I expenses such as health, human, and social services.”
The statement concluded: “In August 2009, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lupita Garcia identified this shift in focus, halted funding of the adult education program, and subsequently initiated a months-long investigation into the Promotoras program’s operations and financing. In December 2009, Rosalva Bullock, the employee who administered the program, requested and was granted a district-approved leave. TUSD received notice of the disallowance and demand for return of monies on June 8, 2011.”
As noted in the NBPC’s Facebook post, former Border Patrol Agent Lonnie Schwartz’s case is now in the hands of a jury. In April 2018, Swartz was found not guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, age 16, of Mexico. That jury was unable to reach a verdict on lesser charges of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.