Rep. Beto O’Rourke: I Support the National Day of Action Against Border Militarization - July 17, 2013
Congressman O’Rourke extends a statement of support for the National Day of Action Against Border Militarization on July 17, 2013
“I am grateful that community members in 11 different cities around the country are standing up for border communities and conducting activities aimed to educate the public about the negative consequences of militarizing large portions of the United States. I have been working with my colleagues to address the unique needs of border communities, especially in the context of an immigration reform debate that has deviated towards more militarization of the border, where 7 million Americans live and work. As Congress continues working to fix our broken immigration system, I remain committed to standing for the Border Caucus Principles below. We need a solution that is humane, rationale and fiscally responsible. I congratulate Border Network for Human Rights for taking the lead on the National Day of Action Against Border Militarization and I encourage everyone to do their part to promote the rich cultural and economic contributions that our border offers the rest of the United States.”
National Day of Action Against Border Militarization - July 9, 2013
Border Communities: “This Bill Doesn’t Represent Us Any Longer” - June 28, 2013
Border Communities: “This Bill Doesn’t Represent Us Any Longer”
The inclusion of unprecedented militarization in S. 744 broke any potential for having a balanced border enforcement strategy
(EL PASO, Texas) — Democratic and Republican senators made a calculated political decision today to militarize U.S. communities along the border with Mexico to advance an increasingly punitive immigration reform package, S.744.
BNHR clearly recognizes that the inclusion of the Corker-Hoeven amendment and the final passage of S. 744 today in the Senate militarizes the border region, invariably leads to more violations of rights, while diminishing — perhaps permanently — the quality of life of all Americans and residents of our border states.
This bipartisan deal is a game changer in the immigration reform debate since it will bring the shadow of militarization to America. If this bill becomes the law, it will swallow our traditional values of freedom and liberty for all and gravely endanger our rights and dignity.
For the more than six million people who live in border American communities between San Diego, California and Brownsville, Texas, S.744 is a promise of abuse, violation and death. Our cities will be occupied by 40,000 armed federal personnel, new Black Hawk helicopters, 18 border drones, more than 700 miles of fencing and wall, hundreds of watch towers, sensors and other military technology in an era where Border Patrol is already the largest para-military force in the U.S. All of this comes in at an initial price tag of $46 billion dollars.
The border has already seen massive expansion of enforcement personal and technology in the last seven years — making this deal not only unnecessary but also an obscene waste of precious resources. Taxpayers’ money could be better spent strengthening the economy and meeting the educational, infrastructure, local security, and social service needs of border communities.
What we know is that the impact of this decision will go far beyond border communities who will be doomed to decades of living in a virtual war zone. This has the potential to creep into the rest of the country. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have taken the unprecedented step of militarizing a large portion of the U.S. which presents a frontal assault on the civil liberties and human rights of border residents and eventually to other communities across the U.S.
Until we have an immigration reform worthy of America’s promise, BNHR will continue to work toward a fast and fair pathway to citizenship and the inclusion of the DHS Border Oversight Task Force in the bill as a way to bring accountability, oversight, consultation and expertise to the border policymaking process.
However, based on the results of extensive consultations carried out in the last few days with BNHR members and other residents of our border community, we stand in strong opposition to any attempts to sacrifice our border communities. Ultimately BNHR believes that S. 744 does not represent border communities any longer.
Senate Bill Creates Path for Undocumented Immigrants, But at Cost of Radically Militarized Border - June 28, 2013
From Democracy Now!
The Senate has approved a long-awaited immigration reform bill that creates a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants while imposing unprecedented new measures for border security. It would spend $46 billion to nearly double the number of border agents to 40,000, expand the use of drones, and construct around 700 miles of border fencing. Republicans introduced the border amendment in a bid to win their colleagues’ support, prompting criticism from a number of immigrant rights groups who say the added “security” requirements are so extreme they undermine the bill overall. We’re joined by two guests: Lorella Praeli, director of advocacy and policy at the United We Dream Coalition; and Fernando Garcia, founding director of the Border Network for Human Rights. Garcia was arrested earlier this week outside the Democrat’s headquarters in Dallas to protest the party’s approval of increased border militarization.
When is Enough, Enough? Border Overkill - June 12, 2013
Border security costs U.S. taxpayers $18 billion per year. That’s more than FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshals, DEA and the Secret Service combined. On the border, there is one border patrol agents for every 500 feet of our border. And we’ve hit a point of diminishing returns. More here.
VIDEO: Release of “The New Ellis Island” - May 13, 2013
Why the Southern Border is “The New Ellis Island”
New report showcases a new way to look at the border, from the perspectives of border leaders — local law enforcement, academics, faith leaders and local government officials
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – On Wednesday, May 8 a group of border stakeholders released their report, “The New Ellis Island: Visions from the border for the future of America.”
The release of the report comes a day before markup is scheduled to begin on the border enforcement provisions of the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.”
A major concern for these stakeholders is the lack of consultation with border communities when it comes to setting border policy. Another concern, and the purpose of the report, is that there is a prevailing false narrative about the border. This report aims to set the record straight while offering a vision for the future of the border and the rest of the U.S.
As the amendment process to the current immigration reform proposal in the Senate moves forward, it is the hope of those at the border that their voices will be heard in the debate. The report is a collection of those voices and offers an alternative to the aggressive expansion of the already-militarized border enforcement system. Instead we can choose to prioritize community security, development in border regions and the protection of human rights of all who live at the border.
The Southern Border is “The New Ellis Island” - May 8, 2013
There are untruths out there about our border region that ultimately make it difficult for entrepreneurs to conduct business, for religious communities to serve as they see fit and for local and federal law agencies to keep the public safe. But these untruths also make it difficult for anyone to seek out rational policies for the border.
Together or independently, many of us had already tried to promote rational border policies. So far, those efforts have been stymied by rhetoric and political grandstanding. We see the evidence of this when Texas Gov. Rick Perry tries to underscore his political position that the border is not secure by saying that a car bomb has gone off in downtown El Paso. Despite this statement being completely false, it was quickly and widely reported. The sad fact is that the car bomb story, however false, fits the media and political narrative about life at the border.
We could all agree that we cannot just aim for impacting policy discussions. We have to start at the stories people are telling about us — the border narrative. And we came together as border community members and religious communities, border academics, local elected officials and law enforcement to face this challenge.
The Border Network for Human Rights asked representatives from all along the border including religious communities, border academics, local elected officials and law enforcement to gather a group of their peers to write a new narrative of the border. These documents represent each sector’s new vision to challenge the current, prevailing narrative.
It’s our belief that the border is a window into the future of the U.S. This is not just a demographic argument. We believe that policies tested at the border will one day make it into the interior. Whether those are policies of criminalization and militarization or policies of community development and the protection of peoples’ human rights remains to be seen.