Bill will turn border communities into theatres of war
Southern Border Region: Today, the House Committee on Homeland Security will be marking up H.R. 399, the Secure Our Border First Act of 2015, a militarization-only bill that will direct equipment meant for "theaters of war" to be deployed into southern border communities.
H.R. 399, or what is being referred to as "McCaul's Militarization Bill" by border residents will directly impact the livelihoods of tens of millions of people living in the southern border region, will overturn 100 years of environmental protections and will continue to give unchecked power to Customs and Border Protection, the nation's largest law enforcement agency which has been plagued with systemic abuses and corruption due to the lack of accountability and oversight.
The Director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, Christian Ramirez (who will be in Washington D.C. between Thursday and Friday), released the following statement:
McCaul's Militarization Bill is a very misguided piece of legislation that effectively turns southern border communities within 100 miles of the border into theaters of war. This includes cities like San Diego, Tucson, Las Cruces, El Paso and Brownsville as well as Disneyland, national parks, and tourist beaches. Furthermore, the failed and wasteful drone surveillance program will be expanded, not ended, which calls to question whether proponents of this bill know anything about the border reality, or if they have any regard for the constitutional rights of the millions of border residents who call this region home. This militarization bill is a recipe for disaster and we call on responsible Members of Congress to take a stance against this bill.
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.