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Vote “NO” on S. 750, the “Arizona Borderlands Protection and Preservation Act”

  May 5, 2015 The Honorable Ron JohnsonChairman, Homeland Security Governmental Affairs Committee The Honorable Thomas CarperRanking Member, Homeland Security Governmental Affairs Committee Dear Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member Carper: We write as border, immigration, faith, labor, environmental, civil rights, and human rights experts and advocates to urge you to oppose S. 750, the misleadingly titled “Arizona Borderlands Protection and Preservation Act,” scheduled for markup on May 6th.   S. 750 is a profoundly harmful bill that would subordinate every existing legal protection applicable to federal public lands in a vast, 10-million-acre area of Arizona to its unattainable objective of entirely sealing the southwest border. Committee Chairman Johnson and his House counterpart Rep. McCaul have disavowed the goal of stopping every illegal border crosser as unachievable. Earlier this year, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson described such high apprehension rates as unworkable. A February 2015 report by the Bipartisan Policy Center stresses that “achieving 100 percent enforcement is an unrealistic expectation in any border security effort,” noting that even the former East Germany’s “kill zone” stopped only 95% of crossers.[1] Continue reading
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Border Patrol Agent Granted Immunity in Killing of 15-Year-Old Boy

  Southern Border Region: A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the Border Patrol agent who shot and killed 15-year old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca cannot be sued in U.S. courts by the teen's family. The border agent shot across the border from El Paso, Texas into Ciudad Juárez in Mexico where Sergio Adrian was standing. Vicki Gaubeca, Director of the ACLU of New Mexico's Regional Center for Border Rights, released the following statement: Continue reading
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Family of Man Killed by Border Agents to Create Quilt in Memoriam

  Border Families Aim to Raise Awareness About Border Brutality & Accountability WHAT: Border Quilt WorkshopWHEN: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.WHERE: Alliance San Diego, 4443 30th Street Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92116VISUALS: Dozens of Border Quilts, family and community members creating hand-made quilt panels.  San Diego, CA:  The family of Francisco Ceseña (a 40 year-old U.S. citizen who was killed under questionable circumstances after being taken into inspection by Customs and Border Protection on December 24, 2014), will be creating a quilt panel in memory of their loved one during a community Border Quilt Workshop being held tomorrow from 5-7 pm at the office of Alliance San Diego. Brenda Ceseña, sister of Francisco, released the following statement: Continue reading
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Border Communities Commemorate Border Brutality, Reaffirm Struggle for Justice

  Arizona border communities stand with the families of Jose Gutierrez, Carlos La Madrid and Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez Tucson, AZ: Border residents from Tucson, Arizona are rallying Monday to support the family of Jose Gutierrez who continues to denounce the brutal beating he endured 4 years ago at the hands of 11  Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at the San Luis Port of Entry as he attempted to cross back into the U.S. to reunite with his family. The case of Jose Gutierrez still has not been resolved and no agent has been held accountable. Continue reading
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Sen. Ayotte Seeks Scapegoats, Not Solutions for America’s Broken Immigration System

  New England lawmaker overlooks $26 bn revenue contribution by immigrant workers and calls for increasing the militarization of the US-Mexican border  Washington, DC—In a series of aimless attacks on immigrants, the House and Senate leadership are holding six committee hearings on immigration this week—unusual for any one issue given the Republicans in charge have offered no real solution to our country’s immigration crisis that is tearing apart millions of families, putting immigrant workers at risk of exploitation, and keeping our economy from reaching its full potential. Continue reading
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100 Faith, Labor and Community Groups Reject Senate Border Militarization Plan

  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. Continue reading
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100 Faith, Labor and Community Groups Reject Border Militarization Plan

  To view the PDF version of the letter, click here. To view the joint statement by SBCC, ACLU, and NBC submitted to the Senate Committee, click here. As border, immigration, faith, labor, environmental, privacy, civil rights, and human rights advocates, we write to urge you to oppose S.208, the “Secure the Border First Act.” Instead of contributing to immigration reform, this bill would devastatingly militarize border communities, harm trade and tourism, despoil the environment where tens of millions of northern and southern border residents live, and imperil their privacy through constant, intrusive drone surveillance. Continue reading
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Border Groups Dialogue with Customs and Border Protection Concerning Transparency and Accountability

  Washington, D.C.: This week, Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) and groups advocating for the rights of border communities held dialogues with top-level Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials to ensure that measures aimed at strengthening transparency, accountability, and oversight are on track. Border groups and allies are encouraged that the agency has taken steps towards adopting reforms to enforcement practices based on recommendations from border communities. Continue reading
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Border Residents Call on the White House for Full Implementation of Body Worn Cameras

  Southern Border Region: The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), led by the relentless efforts of border residents and families of victims, have pushed U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to recognize the need for meaningful transparency, accountability, and oversight within the nation's largest law enforcement agency. SBCC efforts led to Congressional inquiries, national, and international pressure for reform, the public release of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) report along with the revised Use of Force Manual and now the piloting of the use of body worn cameras. The implementation of body worn cameras is a significant step forward that acknowledges the concerns of the border communities and will be implemented in El Paso, Texas, Seattle and Blaine in Washington, West Palm Beach, Florida, and Detroit. Continue reading
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The Secure our Borders First Act: Impact of HR 399 on our Communities

  The Secure our Borders First Act: Impact of HR 399 on our Communities The “Secure Our Borders First Act” was introduced by Rep. McCaul (R-TX) on January 16, 2015. The bill prescribes how Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is to secure the border, enforces penalties if the agency fails to meet the terms of the bill (restricting travel, pay bonuses, and promotions of agents), and costs the taxpayers $10 billion. The bill raises significant concerns detailed below.   Continue reading
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