TEMPE – Police impersonators at Arizona State University are behind bars after standing outside a university dorm checking the immigration status of every student.
The new immigration law has created a lot of controversy but now it has also spawned a prank.
Most students 3TV talked to at ASU say they do not think it is funny.
In the early morning hours of Thursday, freshmen entering the Palo Verde main dorm were allegedly met by two young men posing as plain clothes Tempe police officers and asking to see proof of legal status.
According to ASU campus police, when one student handed over a university identification card, the faux officers, identified as 20-year-old Ryan Alarie and 23-year-old Alexander Devito, said they needed a state ID card because of “the new immigration law.” Devito is an ASU student.
While news of the prank drew at least one chuckle, most students 3TV talked to were not laughing. One student says, “That just gets me hot under the collar. That just doesn't seem right.”
Another student adds, “I think it's pretty scary as a freshman that you're trusting police to keep you safe.”
Another student says, “It's childish, especially that they’re 20 and 23. It's something a teenager would do just to mess around and be cool.”
Alarie and Devito were arrested Thursday morning and, according to the university, Devito is no longer a member of the campus community.
Their actions have touched a nerve with many students concerned about the state's new immigration law. One student says, “Especially what's going on with immigration stuff for immigrants or any Hispanics at all, it's something that’s an issue. People are going to think it’s okay and it’s really not.” Another student adds, “This is a sensitive issue, as is the immigration stuff, so impersonating a police officer - not cool.”
Campus police are now circulating a crime alert and asking anyone who was approached by Alarie and Devito to come forward.
The campus president put out a statement calling the suspects’ alleged actions repugnant to the university.