Giving the border a voice from San Diego to Brownsville
In December 2009 and January 2010, the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) organized two working meetings between border stakeholders, including community organizations, and high-ranking CBP officials over issues pertaining to border enforcement. These low-key meetings, one on a university campus, the other at a church, were nonetheless extraordinary. First because they solidified an unprecedented border wide process dreamed up by the BNHR. Second, because of the high level of the discussion and third, because of the pragmatic, solutions-oriented tone of the meetings. Both sides agreed the Border Stakeholders framework could be a whole new model for community relations on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The genesis of the Border Stakeholders goes back to the beginning of 2009, when the BNHR organized four border policy strategy sessions with community organizing groups, legal activists and others in San Juan (Texas Valley), El Paso (West Texas-Southern New Mexico), Tucson (Arizona), and San Diego. Together, stakeholders developed a common border policy vision and set off to act upon it by reaching out to the administration.
The Border Stakeholders are, the Border Network for Human Rights (El Paso, Texas/Southern New Mexico); the U.S.-Mexico Border and Immigration Task Force; American Friends Service Committee (San Diego); Colonias Development Council (Las Cruces, N.M.); La Union del Pueblo Entero (San Juan, Texas); Border Action Network (Tucson, Ariz.); Casa de Proyecto Libertad (Harlingen, Texas); Escondido Human Rights Committee (San Diego); Humane Borders Advocates (Tucson, Ariz.); San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium; Immigration Forum (Washington, D.C.); Frontera de Cristo (Douglas, Ariz./Agua Prieta, Mexico); No More Deaths (Tucson, Ariz.); ACLU New Mexico; ACLU San Diego; Texas, Rio Grande Legal Aid, Inc.; South Texas Immigration Council; The South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (Harlingen); Center for Social Advocacy (San Diego); Foundation for Change (San Diego); No Border Wall (San Diego); Angeles del Desierto (San Diego); Water Station, Inc., and Citizens for All Canal Safety (San Diego); Casa Cornelia (San Diego); California Rural Legal Assistance (San Diego); Border Encuentro (San Diego); Sierra Club International/Borderland Committee (San Diego); Defenders of Wildlife (Tucson, Ariz.; and San Diego AILA/IRC.