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.
Christian Ramirez, Director, Southern Border Communities Coalition, released this statement:
Customs and Border Protection has a real opportunity to turn the page on the years of abuse and impunity that has had devastating consequences for tens of millions of families who call the borderlands home. This week's candid and meaningful dialogue between civil society and top-level CBP officials was a significant step forward towards ensuring that border communities are treated with respect and dignity by the nation's largest law-enforcement agency.
We urge CBP and the Obama administration to stay the course so that the agency delivers on their commitments of implementing accountability mechanisms and transparency in order to help establish trust between civil society and federal law-enforcement agencies.
Vicki B. Gaubeca, Director, ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights, released this statement:
We are encouraged by the commitment to accountability and transparency expressed by top officials during our dialogues this week. We look forward to making progress on key items such as the potential adoption of body-worn cameras, with adequate privacy protections, the implementation of a uniform complaint system, a ban on profiling in border communities, and more.
We also hope to see humane repatriation practices adopted, including a new policy that ensures individuals are not deported without their essential belongings, such as cash, identification cards, and cell phones.
Jennifer Johnson, Senior Associate, Latin America Working Group, released this statement:
Meaningful dialogue with border communities plays an integral role in Customs and Border Protection's efforts to chart a new course towards greater accountability and transparency. We were pleased that such a broad representation of groups from the northern and southern border regions were able to travel to Washington, DC to engage in frank, and direct conversations with high-level leadership from CBP.
We urge CBP and the Obama administration to work with border communities and allies to make good on commitments to ensure that the nation's largest law-enforcement agency adheres to the highest professional standards, respects human and civil rights, and is transparent and accountable.
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.