She asked, “Do they take babies away from mothers in the US?” Here’s what I said.

By Jenn Budd Names have been changed to protect the innocent. I do not make it a habit to ask migrants about their journey: why they left, where they crossed, how they were treated by the Border Patrol. They have been through traumatic experiences and it is none of my business as a shelter volunteer. If they choose to share, I will listen. Otherwise, I concern myself with getting them fed, access to clean bathrooms, showers, and to a bed. Besides, I already know some of their experiences because of my unique perspective as a former Border Patrol agent. Poking and prodding for more stories feels invasive and unnecessary to me, but eleven hours in a maternity ward with someone would likely involve more engagement than a thirty minute dinner. Continue reading

Open Letter from An Ex-Border Patrol Agent

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent Dear former colleagues at the U.S. Border Patrol, I know that you’ve been working long hours with families seeking safety and protection at our nation’s borders. I remember what those shifts were like when I worked at the Campo, California station: people from many different countries, some sick and injured, children and babies that needed special care, lack of resources and a management that often seems more against you than with you. Continue reading

I Used To Detain Migrants At the Border. Now I help them.

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent It’s been many years and once again, I’m standing in front of a single file line of immigrants. Most are from Guatemala and Honduras. Maybe a family or two are from El Salvador. All the children are so young, clinging to their parents in fear. Many are sneaking a look at me, then quickly looking away as if I am about to spit out orders at them like I used to when I wore a green border patrol uniform: “Get in line! Hands behind your back! Get inside! Silencio!” Continue reading

Deaths by Border Patrol Video

On the ninth anniversary of the brutal death of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas at the hands of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP), The Southern Border Communities Coalition remembers him and the many lives lost to their deadly policies and protocols. Continue reading

Our Border Policies Are As Dangerous To Migrants As Smugglers

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent Recently, a baby drowned and three others were feared dead after their raft capsized in the Rio Grande River, which marks the border between Texas and Mexico. Their deaths are the latest in the more than 7,000 migrants who have died at our nation’s southern border. Continue reading

4 Things We Love About the Southern Border Region

The southern border region is one of the most diverse, economically vibrant, and safest areas of the country. Is a beautiful, welcoming and diverse place that’s home to more than 15 million people that are known for their hospitality and great food. Sadly, the national dialogue about “the border” has centered almost exclusively on notions of “security” and “enforcement”  as well as hyper militarization and walls. Politicians exploit these notions for political gain and to advance policies that are detrimental to the quality of life for the millions of people who live, work and travel through the borderlands. The truth is it’s easy to figure out what’s really going on here (hint: not a crisis). And if you really want to know what’s going on, ask the locals! For those uninitiated to the wonder that is the southern border region, here are 4 (out of countless) things WE LOVE about the southern border. Continue reading

Video: Border Patrol: The REAL National Emergency

The southern border region, home to 15 million people, is a place of encounter, hope, and opportunity. Yet over the last few decades, increased border militarization has undermined our values and affected our quality of life. Continue reading

What We’ve Learned From the Walls We’ve Built

By Yesenia Padilla Photo Credit: Jill Marie Holslin The militarization of the southern border through deadly walls is nothing new. In fact, it’s been going on for decades. Continue reading

What’s Really Going on in the Southern Border

The Southern Border region is one of the most diverse, economically vibrant, and safest areas of the country, home to about 15 million people. It is a place of hope and opportunity, not fear and conflict. President Trump is throwing a tantrum and now threatening to declare a national emergency by spewing blatant lies about the border and our communities in a sinister attempt to justify his deadly, wasteful and harmful border wall. President Trump is wrong to use federal workers and their families, along with asylum seekers, immigrant youth, border communities or anybody else as political bargaining chips for a hateful campaign promise. The only crisis we see in our communities is one stemming from excessive, unchecked militarization - and a humanitarian crisis of Trump’s own making. Continue reading

#ShutDownStories: What Federal Workers Are Saying About the Wall

Single mothers trying to feed their kids. Nervous parents anxious about losing their home. Federal contractors who will never see a retroactive penny for the work they’ve done. All because Trump closed down huge parts of the government until he gets his deadly, harmful and wasteful wall. Continue reading

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