Civil Rights in the Southern Border Region: Focus of Hill Briefings

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Washington D.C. - Human rights advocates with the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) and border residents affected by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) abuses are in Washington D.C. this week for briefings in the House and the Senate.  The briefings taking place on Thursday, November 5, are sponsored by the offices of Senator Tom Udall and Representative Beto O'Rourke.

Details about the briefings are as follows.

Thursday, Nov 5th from 10:30 am - 11:30 am

Russell 485 Senate Office Building

Civil Rights Along the Southern Border: How Reforming Customs and Border Protection Can Restore Public Trust and Accountability

Thursday, Nov 5th from 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Cannon 121 House Office Building

Briefing on Improving CBP Border Policing Practices: How Can We Implement Much-Needed Accountability and Transparency Reforms?

Speaking at both briefings will be the following. (Contact ChaKiara Tucker to arrange interviews.)

  • Jorge Rodriguez, resident and student in Southern New Mexico, candidate for Master's Degree in Criminal Justice, New Mexico State University (Participating on his own behalf, not that of NMSU)
  • Patrick Eddington, Homeland Security and Civil Liberties Policy Analyst, CATO Institute
  • Valentin Tachiquin, Corrections Officer and father of Valeria Tachiquin, killed by a Border Patrol agent in 2012
  • Christian Ramirez, Director Southern Border Communities Coalition
  • Astrid Dominguez, Policy Coordinator, ACLU of Texas

Follow the discussion on Twitter using #ControlBorderPatrol.

Background: Roughly 15 million people across California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas call our southern border region home. Both congressional and presidential initiatives over the past decade dramatically expanded enforcement resources in the region and converted CBP into our nation's largest law enforcement agency. To date, policymakers' extraordinary investment in resources for CBP has not been matched with commensurate accountability and oversight.

Since January 2010, at least 40 individuals have died as a result of an encounter with CBP officials. At least 33 deaths resulted from the use of lethal force. In the 91 year history of the US Border Patrol, only one agent, Lonnie Swartz, has been federally indicted for murder in the case involving Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez.  The grand jury's decision recently took place last month and the trial is still pending.

Critical reforms are needed to effectively rebuild public confidence in the agency and ensure that CBP agents and officers respect the human and civil rights of all individuals.

 

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