Roommates, it’s almost time for high school seniors to throw on their robes and say goodbye to that chapter of their lives. But that wasn’t the case for Thomas Torres-Maytorena, who found himself in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents just three weeks before his graduation.
According to CNN, Thomas was pulled over by the police for a routine traffic stop and didn’t have proper identification to give the officers. The sheriff contacted border control agents after Thomas told them he was undocumented.
On Monday, more than 100 of his classmates walked out of their high school in Tuscon, Arizona, and marched in protest to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
“We’re here to get our friend back,” classmate Daphne Anselmo said. “This shouldn’t be happening right now. Thomas should be in class.”
The school district’s spokesman Victor Mercado said the students walked out because they were worried about where their classmate and wanted to “raise awareness as to what took place.”
Despite being a student in Arizona, the sheriff’s department has determined that Thomas is a Mexican citizen and will be facing immigration charges.
He was reportedly issued a traffic citation for “displaying a plate suspended for financial responsibility, no mandatory insurance, no valid driver’s license and no current registration,” according to the sheriff’s department.
Thomas’ classmates described him as a great student and member of the football team. He is now scheduled to appear in court on traffic charges on May 22, the same day he was set to graduate.
The sheriff’s department stands by the officer’s decision saying: “The deputy conducted a thorough investigation and utilized all resources available to him in an attempt to identify the driver.”
As of now, Thomas is still in police custody.