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.