SOUTHERN BORDER – Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly’s visit to the border regions of Texas, Arizona and California are leaving out one essential stakeholder: the communities most affected by the Trump Administration’s proposed wall and increased militarization.
In response, Andrea Guerrero, Co-Chair of the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), issued the following statement:
“It is very disappointing that Secretary Kelly has not taken this opportunity to meet with border residents to discuss how border security affects their daily lives. We are eager to have a respectful and meaningful conversation with Secretary Kelly around many pressing issues, including the culture of violence and impunity at Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the lack of accountability, transparency, and oversight.
Our regions are not defined by a wall or the harsh and unnecessary enforcement that comes with it. We hope that during his visit here, Secretary Kelly appreciates the rich culture and vibrancy of the borderlands and its residents. Our communities are among the safest in this country, and are key engines of economic growth. Instead of militarizing our communities and building walls that divide us, we should invest and revitalize them.”
“Secretary Kelly’s decision to ignore border communities during his visit to our region sends a signal that he does not care about the wants and needs of border residents. Border voices need to be heard and taken into account, especially when decisions are being made that are detrimental to the civil liberties and quality of life of the millions of people who live in the borderlands. Border communities already bear the brunt of an enforcement-first approach that erodes the public’s trust in law enforcement, which makes our communities less safe. Migration has a human face that is reflected in the spirit of this community. Those voices must be present in this discussion.”
The Southern Border Communities Coalition 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. For more information, please visit www.southernborder.org.