IMMIGRATION: Groups call on Obama to protect border communities from further militarization

from the Southern Border Communities Coalition

NOTE: Pax Christi USA signed onto this letter.

Immigration rally

Last week, more than 70 national, state and local organizations sent a letter to President Obama urging him not to link vitally-needed administrative action protecting aspiring citizens from deportation with further militarization of border communities. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is an agency in crisis: CBP urgently needs a surge in accountability and oversight, not increased Border Patrol personnel or war equipment.

Adding border enforcement resources as part of executive action on immigration would send a misguided, unjust message to border regions and ignore the true reality of our communities. Border communities are safe, economically vibrant and diverse, but cannot tolerate more of the same damaging policies that have vastly over-resourced CBP while failing to invest in accountability. CBP personnel frequently mistreat and abuse the very people they are sworn to protect, many of whom encounter CBP personnel daily as they go to work, attend school, or run daily errands.

Rather than waste more money on the border-industrial complex, President Obama should use this moment to commit to a legacy of CBP reform that would improve the quality of life and restore trust for this and future generations of border residents.It’s high time the Administration move forward meaningful reforms that reflect the highest professional law enforcement standards, such agency-wide use of body-worn cameras, custody standards, and ending CBP interior enforcement operations that treat border residents with suspicion.

The full text of the letter, including a list of signers, is available at http://bit.ly/1p1LnM5.

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