Sunday, October 01, 2006

Shameful Days of Anti-immigrant policies - Arizona groups struggle for human rights at the Border

The Arizona sun here in the Phoenix/Tuscon area is blistering. I can't imagine how horrible it must have been for the 171 migrants who died trying to cross the US/Mexico border this year. The Coalicion de Derechos Humanos estimates that some 3000 migrants have died since the 1990's militarization of the Border. From May 29 - June 4 this year the Coalicion organized a 75 mile walk from Sonora to Tuscon to highlight border human rights issues. More on the Migrant Trail We Walk for Life. The Tuscon-based group is an affiliate of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

In response to the Senate's passage of the "Border Fence Bill" on Friday, the Immigrant Solidarity Network called it "one of the darkest and most shameful days for immigrant and human rights in U.S. history".
Despite repeat appeals from activists, the U.S. Senate, approved the outrageous and racist detainee bill (S. 3930) and another multi-billion dollars for the immoral war in Iraq and Afghanistan (H.R.5631). At the House, they passed the wire tap bill (H.R.
) and several other anti-immigrant bills (H.R. 4844, H.R. 6089, H.R. 6090 and H.R. 6091).
But the most shameful one, on Friday September 29, the Senate rushed to passed the shameful Border Fence Bill (H.R. 6061), calling for construction a multi-billion dollar 700 miles of fence along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico.
Just 2 years ago Arizona voters passed the anti-immigrant Prop 200 [also known as PAN - Protect Arizona Now!] which was a more legally defensible clone of our California Prop 187 which passed in 1994 but most of which was legally struck down in court. [Click here for a good analysis of the struggle against 187 in CA by the amazing Jan Adams ] The fledgling civil rights and human rights groups here are clearly struggling with an apparent juggernaut of rising racism and intolerance. Yet many of the local anti-PAN groups here continue to fight for human rights for immigrants and educational opportunies and social services for everyone, regardless of their immigration status.
Just a few miles south - local groups like Derechos Humanos this weekend are organizing with other immigrant rights groups and indigenous peoples organizations to strategize about the border and global human rights issues.

The call for the Border Summit of the Americas was issued by the Arizona Border Rights Foundation - Fundación de Derechos Fronterizos de Arizona Tohono O’odham communities, along with Derechos Humanos Coalition, American Indian Movement, International Indian Treaty Council.
The three day Border Summit was facilitated with assistance from M.C., Dennis Banks, and Bill Means. Participants also viewed the film “Crossing Arizona” yesterday. Directed by Joseph Mathew and Dan De Vivo, the film is an up-to-the-moment look at the hotly debated issues of 'illegal immigration' and border security on the US/Mexico border. The legendary Floyd Red Crow Westerman—artist, actor, and songwriter—also performed an evening concert in solidarity with Nations along la Frontera!
"Make your voices be heard!! Immigration policy proposals and homeland security have combined to create a volatile situation along U.S. international borders.
Increased law enforcement and vigilantism along the U.S.-Mexico border, in particular, has sparked a wave of reactions across the United States, from massive demonstrations to calls for voter registration campaigns and targeted actions."
The convenors of the Border Summit will be developing recommendations for border tribal governments and other affected parties to communicate with local, state and national as well as international bodies. This effort lays the groundwork for non-violence on Indian land and a more secure border.
More info: Contact Derechos Humanos
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