Border Groups Meet with Customs and Border Protection to Discuss Accountability and Transparency

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SOUTHERN BORDER -- Last week, leaders from the nation’s capital and the southern and northern border met with top-level officials from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Seattle, Washington to discuss policy recommendations that, if implemented, would significantly improve accountability, oversight and transparency in the nation’s largest law enforcement agency.

The gathering was hosted by OneAmerica, a Seattle-based organization that leads civic engagement and immigrant rights efforts in Washington State.

For nearly two years, northern border and southern border organizations have joined forces with DC-based groups to engage in dialogue with CBP in an effort to bring about much needed reforms in that federal agency.

As the nation engages in a robust dialogue over the urgent need for accountability and oversight in law enforcement, CBP has an opportunity as the nation’s largest police force to lead by example and implement 21st century policing best practices that are fundamental in gaining the public’s trust.

Statement from Christian Ramirez, Director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition:

“The Southern Border Communities Coalition continues to be encouraged by the commitment from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to engage in dialogue with civil society. Last week’s meetings in Seattle, Washington between civil society leaders, the southern and northern borders and high-level officials from CBP reaffirm our belief that a key step toward achieving accountability, adequate oversight and transparency in the largest law enforcement agency in the country begins with a willingness to listen to key stakeholders and implement common-sense policies from border communities.”

Statement from Rich Stolz, Executive Director of OneAmerica, which is a member of the Northern Borders Coalition:

“We appreciate hosting this important dialogue, the first of these meetings to take place near the northern border. This location reflects the growing partnership between communities along the southern and northern borders seeking to strengthen principles of transparency, accountability and best practice in law enforcement. The meeting was a very positive opportunity for deeper dialogue between Customs and Border Protection officials, civil society organizations and community leaders from Washington State and across the nation. We look forward to building these relationships in the ongoing work ahead.”

The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) brings together more than 60 organizations from San Diego, California, to Brownsville, Texas, to ensure that border enforcement policies and practices are accountable and fair, respect human dignity and human rights, and prevent the loss of life in the region.

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