New Mexico Man Who Saved Girl Is Illegal Immigrant
Antonia Diaz Chacon becomes new face in debate
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2011 5:29 PM CDT
Antonio Diaz Chacon stands outside his home in Albuquerque, N.M.   (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)
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(Newser) – A new twist to the story of a New Mexico man hailed as a hero for saving a 6-year-old girl from a kidnapper: Antonio Diaz Chacon is an illegal immigrant. The 23-year-old has been married to an American and living in the US for four years, but he gave up on trying to gain legal residency because it was such a long, expensive process, reports AP. Now that his illegal status has come to light, he is being thrust into the debate.

"As exceptional as his story is, it points to the fact that most undocumented immigrants living in the United States are not criminals," says a spokeswoman for Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso. "He's more than not a criminal now. He's a hero." (The city of Albuquerque recognized him as such today.) Others point out that if the governor is successful in preventing illegals from getting a driver's license, the type of rescue he pulled off would not have happened. Click to read how the US will ease off on deporting illegals who have no criminal record.