Border Network for Human Rights
April 23, 2010
**Statement, Re: Sen. Cornynâ€™s visit to El Paso today**
El Paso, TX â€“The Border Network for Human Rights, an 11-year-old community organizing group with about 4,000 members in El Paso and Southern New Mexico, wishes to release the following statement regarding the visit of Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, to El Paso today.
The statement can be attributed to BNHR Executive Director Fernando Garcia.
â€œWe are grateful for the Senatorâ€™s interest in border issues, however we would like to remind him that what we need on the border is not more enforcement, but better enforcement, quality, not quantity.
Border residents believe that border security will be strengthened by passing comprehensive immigration reform. With immigration reform our local, state and federal law enforcement agencies will use their resources to focus and target the real criminal (such as drugs, human trafficking and terrorism) instead of persecuting immigrant workers.
Ports of Entry are a Priority. Irrational and non-functional policies have provided massive enforcement and infrastructure between ports to arrest immigrants and have forgotten to beef up resources and personnel at the ports, where most of potential threat are more imminent. Raising the level of support to the Ports will also help vital economic growth in border communities, especially by eliminating wait times.
No local law enforcement agencies must enforce immigration laws. We learned the consequences of those practices: Endangered public safety by alienating immigrant families and border residents; create a clime of fear and lack of trust toward local law enforcement; and ultimately will lead to an increase of unreported crimes.
Finally, we need professional law enforcement agencies and elected officials to start seeing border communities as part of the solution. ItÂ is unfortunate that Senator Cornyn will not meet with other sectors of our border society, especially community organizations, to listen their perspective and priorities on border security and immigration reform. He is missing an opportunity to gauge how border enforcement is affecting those who have to live with it every day.
We hope that Senator Cornyn will choose lead a new border security vision that includes protection of border residents, just immigration reform and respect for human and civil rights.â€