Immigration Experts Discuss ‘New Border Vision’ for the 21st Century

A recording of the call is available here.

Washington, DC — Earlier today, immigration experts from across the southern border region gathered on a press call to discuss A New Border Vision, a framework for positive and compassionate action that moves us from the myopic and harmful enforcement of the last few decades to responsive and responsible border governance for the 21st century. 

As conditions on the southern border continue to worsen from decades of failed border policies and the administration’s self-made humanitarian crisis, A New Border Vision is being released to inform national policy and ground national politics as the presidential election cycle gets underway. Through this vision, border communities are sharing their perspective and calling for change. Next week, a delegation of southern border residents will be traveling to Washington DC to meet with elected officials to send the message that we need to rethink how we govern our borders.

Below are quotes from today’s speakers. 

Vicki Gaubeca, director, Southern Border Communities Coalition, said, “For decades, and under both parties, we have seen a hyper-militarization of our communities that has resulted in an increase of violence and discrimination across the southern border. It has also eroded our rights and quality of life. Border communities say, enough is enough. Now is the time for a paradigm shift to a New Border Vision. This is a critical moment for policy makers to hear the voices of southern border residents who experience the challenges of federal border policy on a daily basis, but who also have deep cross-border ties and experience the border as a place of encounter, hope and opportunity. As the 2020 Presidential election approaches, we urge congressional members to echo our new border vision by introducing and passing a proclamation or resolution to establish a best practice, effective border governance model.”

Andrea Guerrero, executive director, Alliance San Diego, said, “Public safety depends on public trust, but there can be no trust when the administration treats migrants as criminals and border residents as second-class citizens. A New Border Vision expands public safety by creating responsible and responsive policies in the borderlands so that everyone -- citizens and migrants alike -- can feel safe. 

Border policies should focus on genuine threats and recognize that migration, in and of itself, is not a threat, nor should it be a crime. Migration is the human experience of seeking life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Facilitating the humane and orderly movement of people across the border increases public safety. 

Border residents should be treated with dignity and respect, and have access to resources that ensure their safety: the ability to go to school, access to healthcare, clean air and water. A New Border Vision is a call to revitalize our communities with responsible policies that are the global standard. Expanding the notion of public safety is in everyone’s interest.”

 Pedro Rios, director, American Friends Service Committee’s U.S./Mexico Border Program, said, “For decades legislators have approved border policy that undermines human rights protections for migrants and border community members.  Without consulting with border community members, policies tend to reflect a dangerous war mentality that offer no real solutions, but push reckless ideas that exacerbate impunity and equally promotes a serious lack of accountability in border agencies charged with border enforcement.  Protecting human rights should frame how we prioritize border policies, and it is now time to adopt a New Border Vision to break a dangerous enforcement cycle that places migrants and border community members at risk.”

Cynthia Pompa, advocacy manager, ACLU Border Rights Center, said, “Communities along the U.S.- Mexico border are vibrant, warm and welcoming. However, because of the current enforcement-only policies, at least seven children have died  in recent months either while in U.S. Custody or after being detained. Meanwhile migrant families are crammed in dangerously overcrowded cells for days at a time, sometimes in soiled clothes and without access to adequate hygiene. This is unacceptable. A New Border Vision calls for an appropriate humanitarian response to current human needs. A non- law enforcement approach must include sufficient, trained personnel   who can provide adequate and efficient medical assistance, resources and support, and welcome residents and newcomers alike to our region.”

 Jenn Budd, former border patrol agent and immigrant rights advocate, said, “In my time as a border patrol agent, I’ve developed a unique perspective on twenty years of border policies. I resigned from the border patrol due to corruption, and a lack of ethics and morality. What we’re seeing today is the result of an agency allowed to run with no oversight whatsoever. Years of walls, more agents, guns, planes, detention camps and trillions of dollars has done nothing to make our border communities safer. Using law enforcement to address a humanitarian need has never worked and never will. The Border Patrol needs to be held accountable, border communities have the right to have a voice in how they are governed. A New Border Vision is an opportunity for a human rights first approach to border governance that expands public safety and welcomes newcomers and residents while taking into account the people who live in southern border region.”


The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) brings together 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.



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Southern Border Communities Coalition is a program of Alliance San Diego.


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