Demand dignity, human rights, and end to border militarization.
Friday, May 21, 2010 Leilani Clark (520)982-5687
“The militarized border imposed by the U.S. has lead only to cultural and environmental destruction of the indigenous peoples whose land is on or near the border. This militarization brings death and terror for indigenous peoples from other parts of the continent migrating to this land.”
Press statement TUCSON – More than a dozen people occupied Border Patrol headquarters at Davis-Monthan Airforce Base today in an act of peaceful resistance. The group includes members of Indigenous Nations of Arizona, migrants, people of color and white allies. Six people used chains and other devices to lock themselves in the building. These Arizona residents disrupted the Border Patrol operations to demand that Border Patrol (BP), Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), their parent entity, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Obama administration end militarization of the border, end the criminalization of immigrant communities, and end their campaign of terror which tears families apart through increasing numbers of raids and deportations.
The protesters also call on the State of Arizona to repeal the racist Senate Bill 1070 that criminalizes immigrant communities on the state level, makes it illegal to transport or harbor an undocumented person regardless of family relationship, requires police agencies to engage in racial profiling, and ultimately is an attempt to ethnically cleanse Arizona of those with brown skin. This act of civil disobedience was only the latest in an increasing wave of direct action targeting the federal government’s terrorist immigration policies.
The development of the border wall has lead to desecration of our ancestors graves, it has divided our communities and prevents us from accessing sacred places.
Troops and paramilitary law enforcement, detention camps, check points, and citizenship verification are not a solution to migration. We have existed here long before these imposed borders, my elders inform us that we always honored freedom of movement. Why are our communities and the daily deaths at the border ignored? The impacts of border militarization are constantly made invisible in the media, the popular culture of this country and even the mainstream immigrants rights movement which has often pushed for “reform” that means further militarization of the border, which means increased suffering for our communities.
Indigenous communities such as the O’odham, the Pascua Yaqui, Lipan Apache, Kickapoo, and Cocopah along the US/Mexico border have been terrorized with laws and practices like SB1070 for decades. Indigenous people along the border have been forced by border patrol to carry and provide proof of tribal membership when moving across their traditional lands that have been bisected by this imposed border; a border that has been extremely damaging to the cultural and spiritual practices of these communities. Many people are not able to journey to sacred sites because the communities where people live are on the opposite side of the border from these sites. Since the creation of the current U.S./Mexico border, 45 O’odham villages on or near the border have been completely depopulated.
On this day people who are indigenous to Arizona join with migrants who are indigenous to other parts of the Western Hemisphere in demanding a return to traditional indigenous value of freedom of movement for all people. Prior to the colonization by European nations (spaniards, english, french) and the establishment of the european settler state known as the United States and the artificial borders it and other european inspired nation states have imposed; indigenous people migrated, traveled and traded with each other without regard to artificial black lines drawn on maps. U.S. immigration policies dehumanize and criminalize people simply because which side of these artificial lines they were born on. White settlers whose ancestors have only been here at most for a few hundred years have imposed these policies of terror and death on “immigrants” whose ancestors have lived in this hemisphere for tens of thousands of years, for time immemorial.
In addition, the migration that the U.S. government is attempting to stop is driven more than anything else by the economic policies of the U.S. Free trade agreements such as NAFTA have severely reduced the ability of Mexicans and others from the global south to sustain themselves by permitting corporations to extract huge amounts of wealth and resources from these countries into the U.S. This has led to millions of people risking the terror and death that so many face to cross into the U.S. looking for ways to better support their families. Thousand of women, men, children and elders have died crossing just in the last decade. If the U.S. really wants to reduce migration it should end its policies of exploitation and wealth extraction targeted at the global south and instead pursue policies of economic, environmental and social justice for all human beings on the planet, thus reducing the drive to immigrate.
The protesters are demanding:
-An end to border militarization -The immediate repeal of SB1070 and 287g -An end to all racial profiling and the criminalization of our communities -No ethnic cleansing or cultural genocide -No border patrol encroachment/sweeps on sovereign native land -No Deportations -No Raids -No ID-verification -No Checkpoints
-Yes to immediate and unconditional regularization (“legalization”) of all people -Yes to human rights -Yes to dignity -Yes to respect -Yes to respecting Indigenous Peoples inherent right of migration
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