Southern Border Region: Today, Sen. Johnson will hold a hearing on Securing the Southwest Border in an effort to push the "Secure the Border First Act", a bill almost identical to H.R. 399, which was denounced by 164 organizations through a sign-on letter circulated by the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) and lambasted by the Secretary of Homeland Security. Like H.R. 399, the Senate version continues down the failed path to further militarize border communities, severely damage the environment, and trample on the rights of tens of millions of residents who call border communities home. This bill runs contrary to the reality of border communities, which are safe, diverse, and economically critical to this country.
SBCC, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Northern Borders Coalition (NBC) are deeply concerned about this step towards further militarization of the border communities. Unprecedented investment in border enforcement without corresponding oversight mechanisms has led to a sharp increase in human and civil rights violations, traumatic family separations in border communities, and racial profiling and harassment of Native Americans, Latinos, and other people of color.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a history of violence and with no commensurate accountability measures. Its failure to establish an institutional culture of accountability has far-reaching consequences for the quality of life of those who live and work in the southern and northern border regions.
Christian Ramirez, Director of Southern Border Communities Coalition, released this statement:
The Senate bill only offers tired rhetoric, unworkable plans, and political posturing at a moment when there is an urgent need for Congress to reform CBP. Political theatrics in Congress must come to end. Leaders on Capitol Hill need to get to work and ensure that the rights of tens of millions of border residents are not trampled on by an out-of-control border enforcement regime.
- Letter signed by 100 faith, labor, and community groups, click here.
- Joint statement by SBCC, ACLU, and NBC that was submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, click here.
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.