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Home | News | Protesters Take Over U.S. Border Patrol Museum in El Paso

Protesters Take Over U.S. Border Patrol Museum in El Paso

A group calling themselves Creative Brown Resistance – Tornillo : The Occupation made their way to the U.S. Border Patrol Museum in Northeast El Paso and took over the facility for a time Saturday afternoon.

The group has been protesting in the El Paso area since last year, but stepped up their efforts on February 14th, starting at the Tornillo Port of Entry, some 35 miles east of El Paso, the location of the camp set up to hold unaccompanied minors last year.

Of their on-going protests and activities, via their Facebook page, the group states:

“The El Paso region is ground zero for a corrupt and broke immigration system, there are many detention centers that are operating with impunity and are largely unnoticed. This weekend aims to continue the spread of a culture of resistance in El Paso, and across the nation.” Elizabeth Vega, organizer Tornillo: The Occupation.

On Saturday,  their protest moved into the city, when several dozen of the group entered the museum.  Many members of the protest wore bandanas over the lower portion of their faces, while others carried signs.

The group sang and placed pictures of migrant children on several exhibits, until staff asked the group to leave.  On one exhibit, featuring the photos of fallen agents, several photos of migrant children were placed on the display case.

According to the group’s Facebook page, the protest continued outside the museum for several minutes more, until Military Police from Fort Bliss arrived.  There was no immediate word of any arrests.

The group live streamed the protest, drawing both support and sharp criticism for their activity.

The museum, the only one in the United States dedicated to the Border Patrol and the men and women who served in the organization, is a private museum, not funded by the federal government or the U.S. Border Patrol.

The original museum opened in Downtown El Paso in 1985 and relocated to it’s current location in 1994.  The museum is supported by donations from the public.

On Thursday, February 21, the group released the following statement:

Statement from Tornillo: the Occupation on the Action at the National Border Patrol Museum

The action at the Border Patrol Museum was a collaboration between local El Paso residents and activists from around the country. Recognizing the interlocking nature of all our struggles, we staged an intervention to uplift and remember both the experiences of migrant families and the many lives that have been lost. Since its inception in 1924 the United States Border Patrol has expanded a colonial system that inflicts violence and death along its constructed border. 

We believe that the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement should be held accountable for their human rights violations. We believe all migrants deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We assert the only crisis on the border is the experiences of  vulnerable migrant and undocumented populations bearing the weight of U.S. immigration and foreign policy and Indigenous peoples who have been terrorized and harassed by Customs and Border Patrol on Tribal lands. We stand behind all migrant indigenous families exercising their ancestral claim to migration across Turtle Island also known as the Americas.

We took action because the museum and spaces like it exhibit a one-sided perspective of what is happening on the border. Nowhere in the museum would you find the problematic reality of the Border Patrol and its history of oppressive treatment towards indigenous peoples of this land, asylum seekers, and migrants. Our presence in the space was to center the voices that were missing from this memorial and the human rights violations inflicted upon them: Jakelin Caal Maquin, Felipe Gomez Alonzo, Claudia Patricia Gomez González, and the more than 100 others who have died as consequences of Border Patrol violence. They died in Border Patrol spaces, they deserve to be remembered in Border Patrol spaces.

We are in a crisis of the consciousness of this country; a path towards reconciliation cannot begin unless institutions responsible for telling this country’s story take that responsibility seriously and tell its whole truth. We must, as we have historically, fight for the sanctity of black and brown lives. It is irresponsible for any institution to claim to be apolitical while erasing the entire history of a people and using politically charged words, like “illegal alien” in their exhibits.

We recognize that an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere—therefore, we will continue to resist state-sanctioned violence that places the lives and memories of law enforcement above those who have died as a result of systems of oppression, whether it be at the U.S. Borders, in Palestine, or in the streets of Ferguson, El Paso, Albuquerque/Tiwa Territory, or Tucson.

No one is free until we all are free. 

The videos and photos are courtesy Creative Brown Resistance/Facebook.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 21th 2019 PRESS RELEASE Media Contact: tornillotheoccupation@gmail.com Statement from Tornillo: the Occupation on the Action at the National Border Patrol MuseumThe action at the Border Patrol Museum was a collaboration between local El Paso residents and activists from around the country. Recognizing the interlocking nature of all our struggles, we staged an intervention to uplift and remember both the experiences of migrant families and the many lives that have been lost. Since its inception in 1924 the United States Border Patrol has expanded a colonial system that inflicts violence and death along its constructed border. We believe that the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement should be held accountable for their human rights violations. We believe all migrants deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We assert the only crisis on the border is the experiences of vulnerable migrant and undocumented populations bearing the weight of U.S. immigration and foreign policy and Indigenous peoples who have been terrorized and harassed by Customs and Border Patrol on Tribal lands. We stand behind all migrant indigenous families exercising their ancestral claim to migration across Turtle Island also known as the Americas. We took action because the museum and spaces like it exhibit a one-sided perspective of what is happening on the border. Nowhere in the museum would you find the problematic reality of the Border Patrol and its history of oppressive treatment towards indigenous peoples of this land, asylum seekers, and migrants. Our presence in the space was to center the voices that were missing from this memorial and the human rights violations inflicted upon them: Jakelin Caal Maquin, Felipe Gomez Alonzo, Claudia Patricia Gomez González, and the more than 100 others who have died as consequences of Border Patrol violence. They died in Border Patrol spaces, they deserve to be remembered in Border Patrol spaces. We are in a crisis of the consciousness of this country; a path towards reconciliation cannot begin unless institutions responsible for telling this country's story take that responsibility seriously and tell its whole truth. We must, as we have historically, fight for the sanctity of black and brown lives. It is irresponsible for any institution to claim to be apolitical while erasing the entire history of a people and using politically charged words, like "illegal alien" in their exhibits. We recognize that an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere—therefore, we will continue to resist state-sanctioned violence that places the lives and memories of law enforcement above those who have died as a result of systems of oppression, whether it be at the U.S. Borders, in Palestine, or in the streets of Ferguson, El Paso, Albuquerque/Tiwa Territory, or Tucson. No one is free until we all are free. For more information contact tornillotheoccupation@gmail.comBREAKING! Direct Action: Reclaiming the border patrol museum and exposing the true violence of borders and border patrol. MISSING HISTORY: The museum shows a small scoped perspective of what is happening on the border. No where in the museum would you ever find the fact that the Border Patrol has been a problematic entity in its treatment of the indigenous people of this land and asylum seekers. Our reclamation of the space was to highlight the voices that were missing from this memorial and the human rights violations inflicted upon them. They died in border patrol spaces, they deserve to be remembered in border patrol spaces."Pedestrians were run over by agents. Car chases culminated in crashes. Some have drowned, others died after they were pepper-sprayed, stunned with tasers or beaten.But the majority of victims died from bullet wounds, including shots in the back. The bullets were fired not only by agents conducting border enforcement operations, but also those acting in a local law enforcement capacity and by agents off-duty, who’ve shot burglary suspects, intimate partners and friends.They are the largest federal law enforcement agency, with sweeping powers and a reach 100 miles into the interior of the US. But they have a worrying record — a Guardian investigation shows the federal government has paid out millions in compensation after a litany of deaths, abuses and negligence."-https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/may/02/fatal-encounters-97-deaths-point-to-pattern-of-border-agent-violence-across-america?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other -https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/01/border-patrol-violence-us-paid-60m-to-cover-claims-against-the-agency?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other "From 2005 to 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents were arrested 2,170 times for misconduct, such as domestic violence and drunk driving, government inspectors found. CBP, which includes Border Patrol and customs agents, was also the target of 1,187 complaints of excessive force from 2007 to 2012. Since 2004, more than 200 agents have been arrested on corruption-related charges, including at least 13 under Trump. And a 2013 government-commissioned report found that Border Patrol agents regularly stepped in the paths of cars to justify firing at drivers, as well as shooting at rock-throwers, including teenagers on the Mexican side, with the intent to kill."-https://www.texasobserver.org/the-border-patrol-serial-killer-is-part-of-a-long-troubled-history/"SINCE ITS FOUNDING in the early 20th century, the U.S. Border Patrol has operated with near-complete impunity, arguably serving as the most politicized and abusive branch of federal law enforcement — even more so than the FBI during J. Edgar Hoover’s directorship."-https://theintercept.com/2019/01/12/border-patrol-history/#RevoLove #FreeThem #Libérenlos #hungerstrike #ELPASO9 #AbolishICE #waterislife #HumanitarianAidIsNeverACrime #liberty4patricia #niunamás #WeDoCare #amorYamistad #ReturnTheChildren #Liberty4Patricia @officialpatriciaOkoumou #pokoumou

Posted by Tornillo: The Occupation on Saturday, February 16, 2019

BREAKING: Military police have blockaded our people at the Border Patrol Museum after our Nonviolent action to tell the true story of violence behind borders and those who patrol them. Please stay tuned for updates. UPDATE: After demanding everyone's IDs, collecting personal information, and looking for warrants and immigration status, the military police have let our people go from the Border Patrol Museum parking lot. Thank you all for your support. We have a weekend full of actions, stay tuned! National Border Patrol Museum4315 Woodrow Bean Transmountain Rd, El Paso, TX 79924(915) 759-6060https://maps.app.goo.gl/vEya6Donate: https://www.gofundme.com/tornillo-occuption-weekend-of-resistance?sharetype=teams&member=1600024&rcid=r01-155035418691-10f9aea500a847e9&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_m Live stream of action: https://www.facebook.com/creativebrownresistance/videos/327129841253945?sfns=mo #RevoLove #FreeThem #Libérenlos #hungerstrike #ELPASO9 #AbolishICE #waterislife #HumanitarianAidIsNeverACrime #liberty4patricia #niunamás #WeDoCare #amorYamistad #ReturnTheChildren #Liberty4Patricia @officialpatriciaOkoumou #pokoumou

Posted by Tornillo: The Occupation on Saturday, February 16, 2019

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