By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
They married November 25, 1967.
Over the years, Daniel Magos had traveled mile upon agricultural mile by way of Muleshoe, Texas, and Pinon, Colorado, to arrive at that Thanksgiving week nuptial in Phoenix. And he reached those exotic locales only after leaving Chihuahua, Mexico.
He attended classes and worked with gardeners in Mexico until the sixth grade, when he joined his father in America. “My father worked here in the U.S. as part of the Bracero program. On April 1, 1958, we became legal residents,” said Magos. His family followed the crops, and with three brothers and three sisters, there were plenty of hands for the fields.
”We moved to get away from the snow in Colorado,” said Magos. “You could starve.”
He eventually attended Pecos Junior High in Texas. “People in school were pretty decent. They accepted us in school, but society was different than school,” remembers Magos.
He lived in the South when signs warned that blacks were not served. “I tried to go to movie theaters, but there were no tickets for Mexicans.” Daniel Magos might have been a legal resident, but that didn’t make him white.
When he moved to Arizona, he lived on Phoenix’s south side but labored in the fields at the western end of the Valley. He cut alfalfa and the corn-like sorghum to feed stock. He went to school. When he wasn’t in class, he was with farmers and cattlemen.
Today in Arizona, you see demonstrators calling for the heads of people like Daniel Magos. What you do not see are the children of protesters demanding to work in the fields.
Perhaps that is next, but I do not actually believe it. I say this as a parent of two young men. I say this as someone who has observed your children on Arizona’s soccer fields and in classrooms. I say this as a result of who I am and what I have observed: We do not have a generation coming along that wishes to pick crops.
After high school, Daniel went to college but only lasted a year and a half. “I thought I could make more money working construction than I could with a degree,” said Magos. “My first job involved manufacturing bathroom components — tubs, showers. Did that for several years.”
In 1973, Daniel Magos started a manufacturing business, putting the skills he’d learned into his own company. “It was a sacrifice,” remembered Magos. “I took no pay for five months, until my wife said our savings were depleted. Then I took a small salary.” That was nearly 40 years ago.
Daniel Magos made it. He runs his business in a very conservative fashion, relying upon small contractors and customers so that debt seldom threatens him.
None of that was relevant on December 4, 2009, when one of Arpaio’s deputies slowed down as the Magos’ vehicle approached the squad car from the opposite direction.
”He stared at me, then my wife,” said Magos. “I asked my wife, ‘Why is he staring at us?’”
For several years, Joe Arpaio’s forces have rounded up Mexicans in notorious “crime sweeps.”
Arpaio’s man flipped a U-turn and got behind Magos. “He followed me for 300 feet or so and pulled me over.”
Magos produced his license and insurance and searched for his registration, and then something unusual happened.
Magos said the deputy was loud, intimidating, and used a harsh tone of voice as he said, “I want to see her driver’s license.”
Why did he need the driver’s license of a then 69-year-old lady sitting in the passenger seat?
When questioned, Magos produced a gun that he carried legally.
After complying with the deputy’s requests, after turning over the weapon he possessed legally, after producing proper identification, Magos was ordered to stand spread-eagled against the truck.
”I’m going to search you,” Magos was informed.
”There’s no reason to search me. You are doing it without my consent.”
After frisking Magos, after taking possession of the pistol and the paperwork, the deputy got on his radio. At this point, one of Daniel’s clients happened to call him. When Daniel answered, the deputy returned and yelled at him to get off the phone, which he did.
Magos said the deputy informed him that he was pulled over because the license on the back of his truck wasn’t clearly visible.
I do not know if the license was visible or not. I do know that the deputy could not have known this either, when he stared at the Mexican-American couple as he approached them from the opposite direction. I do know that the deputy could not have seen this until after he turned around and began following the couple.
”When I asked for his badge number, he said, ‘I hope you don’t think this is racial profiling,’” recalled Magos.
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