Listening session and press conference Monday, March 8

**Press Conference 5:00 p.m. Monday, March 8**


Officials from the Obama Administration hear from border advocates and elected officials

El Paso, TX – Officials from the State Department, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Service are conducting six listening sessions around the country to gauge the state of human rights in various places in the United States. The officials, including Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Lisa Garcia, Senior Advisor to the Administrator on Environmental Justice, and local officials like Manuel  Oyola-Torres, ICE Special Agent in Charge in El Paso, are seeking community input to draft a report to the United Nations. One of the six meetings takes place in El Paso on March 8, and is the only one to focus on the state of human rights on the border.

The Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso was asked by the agencies to help organize the session and has invited representatives of organizations dedicated to community organizing, environmental protection and economic justice from San Diego to Brownsville to address the officials. (In addition, several El Paso elected officials will speak, including Sheriff Richard Wiles, State Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, and City Reps. Susie Byrd and Beto O’Rourke.) The all-day session was organized around five themes: Border enforcement and its impact on immigrants; Detention and removal; Border enforcement and its impact on communities; Human rights in the colonias; Environmental protection along the border; and Economic justice.

“We applaud the effort by the administration to consult with the communities before drafting their very important report. We hope that the officials will leave with a better understanding of the situation on the ground and that we will set the ground work for continued consultation on these important issues,” said Fernando Garcia, Executive Director of the Border Network for Human Rights. (More)

The meeting itself is not open to the public or to the press, but the organizations will have a press conference right after the event. Please join us at the press conference.

**Press conference**

When: 5:00 p.m., Monday, March 8, 2010

Where: Camino Real Hotel Ballroom Lobby

Who: Border Network for Human Rights (El Paso), Human Rights First (New York), Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (DC), ACLU (New Mexico and San Diego), American Friends Service Committee (San Diego), Humane Borders (Ariz.), Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid (Rio Grande Valley), Colonias Development Council (Las Cruces), Sierra Club (Texas and Arizona), Paso Del Norte Civil Rights Project (El Paso), La Mujer Obrera (El Paso), and more.

Read about the New York listening session here and here. Read about the New Orleans listening session here.

Contact: Louie Gilot, Communications Director,Border Network for Human Rights, (915) 274-0541,,

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