Organizations representing northern and southern border communities, including the Border Network for Human Rights, the Southern Border Communities Coalition, the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights, and the Northern Borders Coalition, released the following joint statement in united opposition to the negotiated Senate deal which calls for an additional armed 20,000 border patrol agents, increased drone surveillance, and up to 700 miles of border fencing at an estimated cost of $48 billion over 10 years:
“This is a bad deal for U.S. taxpayers, but especially for those that live and work in the border region. While the flow of migration is at a historic low, excessive enforcement remains unchecked and unaccountable to communities in which Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection operates. This proposal to increase enforcement without checks and balances is an example of excessive and wasteful government spending and represents an unnecessary expansion of the federal government’s authority.
“We know the effects that these provisions will have on the daily lives of all border residents. Our communities have endured the painful reality of unchecked and unaccountable enforcement operations, which have led to decreased civil liberties and civil rights protections, interruption of commerce and trade, constant surveillance in our neighborhoods, excessive and deadly use of force by Border Patrol agents, and the outright militarization of border communities. The Senators need to be reminded that border communities are still part of this nation and that there should be no further militarization of our neighborhoods. In fact, there has been an immediate and overwhelming response from mayors, local elected officials, law enforcement leaders and faith leaders along the border in opposition to the proposal.
“As border communities, we stand united in our resounding rejection of the Hoeven-Corker deal and urge the Senate to include accountability and oversight mechanisms to the already massive presence of border agents in our communities. This includes mandating lapel cameras for border agents, providing subpoena power to the DHS Border Oversight Task Force, applying geographic limits on warrantless Border Patrol stops in the southern border, and directing any increase in personnel to ports of entry where they are needed to facilitate trade that is fueling our economies.
“The Hoeven-Corker proposal to increase the number of Border Patrol, add additional fencing, and spend trillions in technology is expensive, extreme and wasteful, particularly at a time when we need to improve our schools, fix our roads, and grow our economy. It is an assault on our system of checks and balances and seriously threatens the quality of life of border residents. Overhauling the nation’s immigration process is urgently necessary, but this should not be done without proper consultation with those communities who must live with the effects of poorly thought-out policy. We cannot not remain silent as politicians on both sides of the aisle continue to treat border communities as an endlessly expendable trade-off for immigration reform.”