BNHR PRESS STATEMENT
Border Residents Denounce Trump’s Proposal to Deploy Soldiers to Enforce the U.S.-Mexico Border
Policy Rooted in Racism Will Only Bring More Insecurity to Border Communities, Undercut American Values, Cost Americans Their Lives
*PRESS STATEMENT CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO BNHR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FERNANDO GARCIA
Today, President Trump proposed deploying the U.S. military to our border. This is an absurd and destructive idea. This will not make our border safer. This will not make America safer. If this happens, it will kill the ideals of America and it will put the life and rights of border residents and immigrants in danger.
We know this from our lived experience. We know this because President Clinton already tried this in the 1990s. We know this because on May 20th, 1997, 18-year-old Esequiel Hernandez Jr. died on his parents’ ranch in Redford, Texas, shot by U.S. Marines sent to ‘secure’ the border. We know this because it is our lives as border residents that hang in the balance now.
The U.S.-Mexico border is a place of life. It is a place where our two countries come together in new and beautiful ways.
However, decades of a unilateral American enforcement buildup—a paramilitarization of the border with tens of thousands of agents, drones, planes and helicopters, and a mass criminalization of migrants—has created an undercurrent of death that border crossers and border residents know all too well.
The U.S. military is not a civilian law enforcement agency. Soldiers are not trained in immigration law. Soldiers are not trained in civil and constitutional rights. Soldiers are not trained to interact with civilian communities. They are trained to kill. This is what they did to Esequiel Hernandez. This is what they would do again now.
There are many reasons to be wary of any call to further ramp up border enforcement, and to be particularly afraid of a military deployment such as the President has proposed—legal obstacles like the Posse Comitatus Act likely are beyond Trump’s knowledge. But, regardless of these other concerns, the death these military deployments would cause is the top of the list. Migrants’ lives matter. Border residents’ lives matter. Americans’ lives matter. We need the rest of the country to affirm this. We need the rest of America to reject our President over this.
President Trump is an intransigent man that has embraced racism and xenophobia as his main policy agenda, and he is ready to bring our country and our communities to the brink of insanity. As border residents we implore the country to turn back.
The Border Network for Human Rights, founded in 1998, is one of the leading human rights advocacy and immigration reform organizations located at the U.S./Mexico Border. BNHR has over 7,000 members in West Texas and Southern New Mexico.