Community Members, Lawmakers, Advocates Highlight Need for Border Enforcement Reforms and the Dream Act

December 7, 2017 5:30 pm

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WASHINGTON — At a forum held today at the Capitol Visitor Center, two panels of speakers detailed the realities of life in border communities under the Trump administration. Sponsored by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Congressional Border Caucus, the forum took place amidst ongoing policy negotiations and spending bills that threaten to jeopardize the livelihoods of families throughout the region, including “Border Dreamers.”

Participants had the following comments:

“It pains me greatly to have personally witnessed American servicemen give their lives overseas to defend our constitutional rights, while witnessing them routinely violated at these checkpoints and in courtrooms without an ounce of accountability; and while knowing that many Americans… have to suffer these abuses constantly. If the interior checkpoints are to remain at all, only Congress can ensure that they are actually operated within the strict limits of the law.”
— Rick Rynearson, a decorated military veteran whose testimony detailed his detainment at an interior Border Patrol checkpoint in Texas

“I’m one of the 20 percent of DACA recipients who live in the border region, and one of the over 50 percent of DACA recipients who call southern border states home. I am also part of the hundreds of thousands of mixed-status families who live in the border. I want to stay in the country I know as my home and be protected from deportation, but not at the expense of my parents’ safety and wellbeing. I want a secure immigration status but not if it means further militarizing the community that my family and I call home.”
— Jesus Daniel Mendez Carbajal, a 24-year-old DACA recipient living in San Diego

“CBP’s excessive, abusive, and unlawful behavior must not be allowed to continue. Our democracy is threatened when our nation’s largest law enforcement agency abuses its legal authority and is not held accountable for overstepping that authority.”
— Edgar Saldivar, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas and a member of Rosa Maria Hernandez’s legal team

“As legislative negotiations move into overdrive, today’s panelists offered reminders why efforts to trade Dreamers’ protections for more border militarization is a false and dangerous choice for millions of people living in the region, including Border Dreamers.”
— Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy and campaigns at the ACLU

“Efforts to further militarize the unprecedented secure border, including by adding additional agents to the country’s largest law enforcement agency, Customs and Border Protection, are wasteful, unnecessary, and would jeopardize quality of life for border families. CBP has a troubling track record of abusive conduct and needs more accountability, like body-worn cameras, not more Border Patrol agents or a foolish wall.”
— Chris Rickerd, policy counsel for the ACLU

A recording of the event is online here:

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