Congressman Grijalva's Republican challenger calls him a liar.
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Congressman Raul Grijalva's Republican challenger is calling him a liar.
Gabby Saucedo Mercer, a vocal supporter of SB 1070 and opponent of TUSD's Mexican American Studies program, is challenging the Congressman's claim that the MAS does not violate state law.
The congressman sent the letter to the U.S. Education Department's Civil Rights Division asking for an investigation into whether the state's law violates federal standards. Mercer, who called a news conference at TUSD headquarters, said she believes that the program promotes segregation in the classes "because they are separating the children, because they are Mexican American or Latinos or because of the color of their skin. And they're indoctrinating them."
Grijalva responded to Mercer's charges, " If she's concerned about segregation, why aren't the other studies being eliminated?"
Congressman Raul Grijalva wrote in his letter that the Mexican American Studies program has been successful with a high graduation rates.
Mercer said, "That is a lie and that's why I'm calling Grijalva a liar. There is no factual statistics that show that any improvement by the children in taking MAS that they are graduating any better than any other senior in High school. Most seniors who get the the senior level will graduate."
Grijalva disagrees. "That's not necessarily the case across all high schools. Graduation rates are graduation rates. And of course they're going to graduate when they are seniors. And the fact that the retention rate for those seniors in those classrooms are higher than any comparable group speaks for itself."
Grijalva told KGUN 9 that the Civil Rights Divison told him they will look into whether the state's law violates federal standards and it will get back to him soon on whether it will pursue the case.