Border Communities Should Not be Treated like War Zones
Christian Ramírez, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition has issued the following statement regarding the nomination of retired Gen. John Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security.
"President-elect Donald Trump's plan to nominate retired USMC Gen. John Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security is a deeply troubling signal to border communities and the nation.
Border communities are diverse, vibrant, economically resilient and among the safest in the nation. They are not war zones where military-style enforcement takes precedent over the rights enshrined in the Constitution.
Placing a military general at the head of the civilian department that oversees Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is a deeply troubling indication of increased militarization of the border region. CBP, the largest law enforcement agency in the country, already operates with minimal transparency, accountability, and oversight mechanisms. We urge our elected officials to uphold their obligation to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States of America and deeply consider long-standing concerns regarding the impact of having military leaders in control of civilian institutions.
Militarized police forces have no place in a democratic society. Increased militarization of our nation will further widen the gap of mistrust between residents and law enforcement, undermining public safety and the best values of our democracy.
Border residents already face daily stop and frisk policing, where federal agents exercise the unjust practice of racial and identity profiling. They can also search property without a warrant. This is not the country we want; generals belong in the battlefield, not in our communities."
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.