We Demand Smart Community-Informed Border Solutions


Please contact your Congressional representatives and the bipartisan conference committee by February 15!

In the debate about border walls, the (false) alternative to wall has been “increased border security” including more drones, surveillance and an increased Border Patrol presence.

This is not a smart solution. More policing and militarization of the border will lead to increased racial profiling and anxiety in border communities. We don’t need more militarization at the border any more than we need more militarized police forces in our hometowns.

What we DO need is community-informed solutions developed by those most heavily impacted.

The BEST POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS we have found are from The U.S.-Mexico Border Policy Report of 2008. It includes 13 pages of excellent recommendations from their task forced that included the faith community, law enforcement, academics, civic leaders, attorneys and community organizations along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Please consider emailing the letter below to your representatives in Congress through their websites (takes 6 minutes). Note: you will need to reformat the paragraph breaks once you copy and paste the letter.

If you have an extra 30 minutes, please email the senators on the conference committee listed below who are tasked with negotiating an end to the logjam with President Trump vis-à-vis the border wall.

Please reject border security that puts communities at risk – Propose Smart Solutions

Dear ______ ,

I call on you for a border approach that involves affected border communities who understand their situation and their needs.

An armed Border Patrol presence around existing and planned border walls has proven to be lethal too many times according to Southern Border Communities Coalition* that tracks deaths at the hands of the Border Patrol.

The blanket “increased border security” alternative to more walls is NOT a smart solution. More drones and Border Patrol agents too often go hand-in-hand with racial profiling and detention of people who are citizens or those with legal immigration status. This increases anxiety in the community.

According to Ann Williams Cass, Executive Director of Proyecto Azteca and a health care researcher, a recent study of Hidalgo County’s colonias (near McAllen, Texas) found a shocking 80% FOOD INSECURITY RATE among residents because they are too afraid to leave their neighborhood to shop, for fear of being arrested. For comparison, according to the USDA in 2017**  only 11.8% of US households were food insecure. Most of those families in McAllen have money, transportation and access to food stores – but they and their children are going hungry out of fear of arrest. This is just one of many serious and invisible implications of racial profiling and high security along the border.

The Border Patrol needs better vetting as part of their hiring process as well as better training. According to Politico reporting in The Green Monster: How the Border Patrol Became America’s Most Out of Control Law Enforcement Agency the Border Patrol has had serious problems including hiring members of the MS-13 gang and averaging one arrest per day of its own agents in a seven year period.

The US-MEXICO BORDER POLICY REPORT (2008) proposes the BEST COMMUNITY-INFORMED POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS I have seen. PLEASE incorporate their excellent suggestions (pages 21-34).


Thank you very much.





Continue reading “We Demand Smart Community-Informed Border Solutions”

Witness at the Texas-Mexico Border

Submitted by Tomi Nagai-Rothe

bollard wall

In June I saw images of tent city prisons built for children separated from their families and all I could think about was the concentration camp where my mother’s family lived for several years during World War II.

The Japanese-American community has made a point of standing in solidarity with those targeted by the US government, including the Muslim community after 9/11. Because almost no one — except for the American Friends Service Committee — stood for them when they were forced out of their homes simply because of their ethnicity. I feel a part of this solidarity movement so that no one and no group targeted because of their identity will feel so alone.

I felt led to do more than organize locally in El Cerrito − to go in person to witness what is happening at the Texas-Mexico border. Going in person felt like one way to embody my commitment.

In October I spent 2 ½ weeks volunteering with the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) in Alamo, Texas just outside McAllen which was ground zero for the family separation crisis over the summer. TCRP interviewed 382 families and organized 90 attorneys as part of the #FamiliesBelongTogether effort over the summer (there are only three attorneys in their Alamo office, and six others in the other TCRP offices).

Humanitarian Respite Center

By October the family crisis had abated somewhat, so I worked on a border wall project. I studied the history of the border wall, including the economic, cultural and environmental impacts and created this illustration of the executive summary of the article, Death, Damage and Failure: Past, Present and Future Impacts of Walls on the US-Mexico Border.

To support the work of the TCRP attorneys I created an interactive map of the landowners affected by the October 10 waiver of 28 federal laws that clears the way for additional border wall construction. TCRP is working with individuals who need help negotiating with the government and cannot afford to hire an attorney.

FINAL Impact of Wall on the Border

On my last day in Texas I volunteered at the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen where newly arrived families and individuals gather before taking busses to reunite with family members in other parts of the state or country. I was struck by how young they were — in their 20s and 30s — and how composed they seemed, having experienced unspeakable challenges. Soon after I arrived I started crying inexplicably. I can only guess that it was the feeling of so many people’s trauma in one small room.

When I returned to the office I edited stories of people killed by the Border Patrol for a Dia de Los Muertos Offrenda (altar). It felt important to write a respectful obituary for those who died a violent death. It was an emotional end to an eye-opening visit.


To learn more about why the Bay Area is a border region, why the Texas-Mexico border has the fewest miles of wall and more, come to Tomi’s talk about her sojourn in South Texas.

Saturday, January 5 3 to 4:30pm at Berkeley Zion Presbyterian Church, 545 Ashbury at Lincoln, El Cerrito
















teargasNationally, Families Belong Together are calling for a National weekend of protest on December 1 and December 2nd.  Locally, West County residents can join the chorus to STOP THE TEARS by Showing UP at the El Cerrito Plaza at Noon on December 1st. Event Sign Up  This visibility action is for ONE HOUR and meant to be a reminder – just 10 hours from our borders, we are placing innocent people in harms way, ignoring international law, and making it virtually impossible for asylum seekers to carry through with their quest for asylum.

When tear gas traveled through the throngs of migrants on the border areas of our State, most citizens stood by horrified by the images of women and children frantically running for safety,   Trumps latest manifestation of a hostile policy toward migrants  follows on the heals of the failing family separation policy,  long term detention of immigrant families, not to mention the newly restricted rules for asylum application.  It is clear that the architects of the current administrative changes at the border are determined to halt any immigration of the refugees who are fleeing from countries that have been torn apart by violence, political corruption and economic deprivation.

Locally, other efforts are underway to support the migrants at the border.

The city of Berkeley will donate money for the migrant caravan to the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, not to exceed $250 per council member. Funds will help provide food, shelter and basic needs to caravan members detained at U.S. ports of entry or traveling to immigration hearings, according the Daily Cal (November 28, 2018)

safe_imageTo learn more about the solidarity work that can be done on the border, please join the Interfatih Movement 4 Human Integrity

Saturday, Dec. 8th, 7 pm – 9 pm
People’s Assembly for Migrant Caravan Solidarity
@ 1st Pres. Church Oakland, 2619 Broadway Ave. Oakland
Join IM4HI & the Migrant Welcome Committee of the Bay Area for an evening of sharing and action as we better understand the recent caravans and take action in solidarity with their participants.
  • Find out the root causes of the mass migration of Hondurans and other Central Americans in this historic moment.
  • Hear testimony from participants of the migrant caravans about the realities, stories and power of their journey and collective action.
  • Find out the many ways individuals and organizations right here in the Bay Area can support the material and political goals of the migrants who are seeking asylum in the US.
Financial Donations to support organizations in Tijuana supporting migrants
and migrant legal defense will be collected at this event.


Local residents ready to SHOW UP!

El Cerrito Shows UP

Thursday, August 9th from 6-7PM

El Cerrito Plaza (San Pablo Ave)

As President Trump now introduces a new plan to target legal immigrants for deportation, the public continues to push back on his divisive rhetoric.  Locally, a diversity of neighbors will gather to make community in face of the the nationalists immigration policies.  Join your neighbors and find strength in numbers. Voice your outrage and our support. Stand up for human rights. Be a global citizen, be a local voice.


For more information about the attempt to target legal immigrants, see this article:

Trump Targets Legal Immigrants

El Cerrito Shows UP

@MaryMartinDeShaw-0063-X3Join your neighbors and friends on Thursday, August 9th from 6-7 p.m. at the San Pablo Entrance to the El Cerrito Plaza – Demand Justice for Families!

Last week dozens of community residents gathered at a busy intersection to amplify the voices of those who are locked away in detention facilities across the country – many separated from their children.  Although the national media stations have reduced their coverage of the atrocious “family separation” policy, there are still over 700 children separated and isolated from family. Please stand up for these children.  Watch the live feed from the DeSaulnier Town Hall. He describes his own experience in Brownsville, Texas where he met with many of those families experiencing  grief and trauma as a result of current administration policies.  https://www.facebook.com/RepMarkDeSaulnier/videos/911060299105067/

See you on Thursday, August 9th.  Bring a sign – we are a human billboard!

Families Belong Together-Show UP! Thursday 7/26/2018

Rally at El Cerrito Plaza (San Pablo Entrance), 6-7pm, Thursday July 26.

On Thursday, July 26th the Trump administration will be facing its deadline to reunite the 3,000 children who were forcibly separated from their families.  Let’s show support for those families as we have been doing every week.  Join hundreds in voicing your opposition to family separation, ICE detention camps and the continued violation of refugee rights.  This event will be filled with songs, slogans and much more. We will be a HUMAN BILLBOARD visible on all streets surrounding the El Cerrito Plaza.  This is a family event!  Bring your signs or make one at our sign making station.



La Cámara de los Representantes de EE. UU. Vota sobre DACA Esta Semana

ACTUALIZACIÓN 25/06/2018: La Cámara rechazó una votación sobre este proyecto de ley el jueves. No hay próximo voto.

Según Countable, el informe en línea sobre asuntos del Congreso, esta semana del lunes, 25/6/2018, la Cámara de Representantes vota sobre la Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). La sección sobre DACA está acompañada de secciones sobre “Cumplimiento de fronteras” y “Asignaciones y prioridades de visados”. En la sección de DACA, informe Countable:


Estado legal para ciertas llegadas infantiles: Esta sección crearía un estado legal renovable de seis años para inmigrantes no autorizados elegibles conocido como” estado contingente no inmigrante “que les permitiría solicitar tarjetas de residencia (estatus de residente permanente legal) después de cinco años. los inmigrantes serían elegibles para el estado contingente no inmigrante si:

  • Están físicamente presentes en los EE. UU. Cuando hacen su solicitud y estuvieron físicamente presentes en los EE. UU. El 15 de junio de 2007;
  • Tenían menos de 16 años cuando ingresaron por primera vez al país;
  • Tenían menos de 31 años el 15 de junio de 2012 y no tenían un estatus legal de inmigración en esa fecha;
  • Son de buen carácter moral y han solicitado la liberación de los registros judiciales de menores a DHS;
  • Haber mantenido una presencia física continua en los EE. UU. Desde el 15 de junio de 2012 hasta que se les otorgue el estado contingente de no inmigrante;
  • Haber obtenido un diploma de escuela secundaria o un equivalente en los EE. UU. O estar inscripto a tiempo completo en una institución educativa.

Los inmigrantes no autorizados no serían elegibles para el estado contingente de no inmigrante si tienen:

  • Una condena por delito grave o un delito grave con agravantes;
  • Una convicción de delito menor por violencia doméstica, abuso o negligencia infantil, agresión que resulta en lesiones corporales; o violando una orden de protección;
  • Una condena por agresión sexual en cualquier momento;
  • Una o más ofensas clasificadas como delitos menores que involucran conducir en estado de ebriedad (DWI) o manejar bajo la influencia (DUI);
  • Dos o más delitos menores por infracciones no relacionadas con conducir bajo la influencia o causar daños corporales físicos;

Condenas de menores por delitos relacionados con homicidio, homicidio, homicidio, violación, violación legal, cualquier delito de naturaleza sexual que involucre a una víctima menor de 18 años, un delito de violencia o tráfico de drogas;

No cumplió con una orden de expulsión o un acuerdo de salida voluntaria o es deportable o inadmisible por razones específicas.

Los no inmigrantes contingentes mayores de 18 años tendrían que demostrar la capacidad de mantenerse a sí mismos con un ingreso anual que sea al menos el 125 por ciento del nivel de pobreza federal durante el período en que tengan un estado contingente de no inmigrante. Estarán exentos de este requisito si están inscriptos en la escuela, tienen una discapacidad física o mental, o son el cuidador de un niño menor de 18 años o un adulto que no puede cuidar de sí mismo debido a una discapacidad.

Los no inmigrantes contingentes tendrían que solicitar autorización del DHS para viajar fuera del país y ser readmitidos, y no podrían estar fuera de los EE. UU. Durante más de 180 días durante cada período de 6 años en que estén en estado contingente de no inmigrante. Habría excepciones por circunstancias atenuantes y servicio militar.

El período de solicitud estará abierto durante un año después de que el DHS publique su regla final interina para solicitudes contingentes de no inmigrantes. El proceso incluiría completar un formulario que incluye la provisión de documentos fiscales, documentos que demuestren su identidad (como un pasaporte, certificado de nacimiento), una transcripción escolar certificada (según sea necesario para cumplir con los requisitos de educación) y una entrevista. También se requerirá una tarifa única de seguridad en la frontera de $ 1,000 como parte del proceso de solicitud.

Los inmigrantes no autorizados detenidos antes o durante el proceso de solicitud recibirán la oportunidad de solicitar la condición contingente de no inmigrante si son elegibles para tal estado. Su capacidad de aplicar se anularía si no son elegibles por alguna de las razones anteriores, o si el DHS determina que su eliminación es en interés de la seguridad nacional.”

Consulte (únase) a Countable para ver un informe completo sobre el proyecto de ley propuesto, que incluye “Aplicación de la frontera” y “Asignaciones y prioridades de visados”.

Si está interesado en la votación de la Cámara sobre DACA, comuníquese con sus senadores y representante.

Para obtener más información sobre el soporte continuo para DACA, consulte el artículo de septiembre de 2017 CBS News, Fifteen states and D.C. file lawsuit over DACA.