President Trump is now in a position to fulfill his reckless campaign promise to further militarize the borderlands and trample over the Constitutional rights and quality of life of tens of millions of people who live here. Right now, through a federal loophole, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are allowed to stop and interrogate and search children on their way to school, parents on their way to work, families going to doctor appointments or places of worship.
Not only do these actions erode the integrity of the U.S. Constitution; they jeopardize our communities and undermine public safety for all. Expanding the size and power of security forces in the border area including the Border Patrol which claims extraordinary legal authority up to 100 miles from our borders will further erode the freedoms and rights of tens of millions of people who call the southern border communities home.
Chris Ward, San Diego City Councilman District 3:, said:
I am one of many local elected officials along our border communities who are frustrated and enraged, very disappointed in today’s news. We want to make sure we are fostering healthy communities here in the cities that we love and have been able to do so well to date. We are very worried these actions are going to turn those efforts around. The American people deserve common sense border policy to uphold the dignity of border residents in our communities.
The president’s actions against sanctuary cities threaten the sovereignty of local officials to manage our affairs and protect our communities in the way we see best fit. Border communities are among the safest in the nation already and patrolling them with heavily armed unaccountable agents puts our lives at risk and it will turn our communities into military zones. Trust between the community and local law enforcement is essential for everyone’s security.
Joanna Williams, Director of Education and Advocacy at the Kino Border Initiative in Arizona, said:
We issue a renewed called for unity and solidarity. Our faith understanding allow us in a special way to recognize that we are brothers and sisters. We therefore strongly oppose these efforts that further divide our border community. We witness first-hand the suffering of dramatic increase of border policing. One-third of the men, women, and children have been subject to degrading treatment or abuse when obtained by a U.S. Border Patrol. Dramatically and hastily expanding this agency without adequate training and accountability will only make this situation worse, not more secure.
In a day where we are speaking about security and borders we also think it’s important to re-emphasise the reasons why individuals are migrating. In Pope Francis’ address to congress in 2015 that we need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Working towards peace, justice, and prosperity is a challenging task, but God calls us to this Holy work. We want to respond in solidarity with our brothers and sisters across the border and call our government and our people to a higher and more morally just response to what we are witnessing.
Vicki Gaubeca, Director of the ACLU-NM Regional Center for Border Rights, based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, said:
I want to join my colleagues in expressing deep concern about these announcements on these executive orders. On sanctuary cities, ACLU believes every municipality, every government entity has the absolute right to determine how it will cooperate with the federal government. Trump does not have the legal authority to carry out this threat to defund cities and states that protects people’s rights without regards to immigration status. Congress has never authorized the President to defund the states and localities and stay clear of deportation business. If Congress were to enact such a law it would be struck down as unconstitutional and Trump with these executive orders is trying to bypass Congress.
On building a wall and militarizing the border, expanding the size and power of security forces in the border states will further erode the freedoms and rights of millions of people who call our northern and southern border communities home. Trump’s fantasy of sealing the border with a wall is based fundamentally on racial and ethnic bias. The border wall is political theatre at the expense of civil liberties. It is NOT rational national security policy. Border communities are amongst the safest in the nation, net migration from Mexico is at zero, and patrolling with heavily armed and poorly trained unaccountable agents puts the lives of our community members at risk.