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Antonio Diaz Chacon: Albuquerque’s Undocumented Hero

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antonio diaz chaconWritten by Mariano Cardoso:

His name is Antonio Diaz Chacon. He’s a resident of New Mexico. He is 23, a hero, and he is undocumented.

Before Monday of last week, Diaz did not know what it felt like to be a hero. That changed when a 6-year-old girl in Albuquerque was abducted as she walked home on a suburban street. The kidnapper pulled her into his van, and Chacon, who has two children of his own, saw what happened. He then risked his life by chasing the kidnapper’s van in his own car, forcing the van to crash into a pole.

Antonio rescued the girl as the abductor ran into the desert. The suspect was later arrested by police.

The rhetoric from right-wing news networks will have you believe that a person who is undocumented can’t be a hero. To them, an undocumented person is an odd alien species that can high jump over the fence, which runs along the border between U.S. and Mexico. To them, undocumented immigrants are almost like a ninjas…just as dangerous, but not as cool.

Chacon’s selfless actions would be hard to categorize as anything but heroic. According to Christina Parker, a spokeswoman for Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso, Texas:

As exceptional as his story is, it points to the fact that most undocumented immigrants living in the United States are not criminals. He’s more than not a criminal now. He’s a hero.

Diaz Chacon has rightfully been accepted as a hero in his town. So many have come out to praise him that Albequerque Mayor Richard Berry declared last Friday was “Antonio Diaz Chacon Day.” In an afternoon ceremony, he presented Diaz Chacon with a Spanish-language plaque recognizing his bravery .

Diaz Chacon can acknowledge to being undocumented in New Mexico without fear of being deported, but the same might not be the case had he been living in other states. As Marcela Diaz, with the Santa Fe-based Somos Un Pueblo Unido states:

“The question I would ask is, ‘Would this have played out the same way if we were in Arizona, or Georgia or Alabama?’” she asked.