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Home | Tag Archives: Border Network for Human Rights

Tag Archives: Border Network for Human Rights

Gallery+Story: Thousands ‘March for Truth’ in Response to President Trump’s Visit

Dressed in warm winter gear, and fighting wind and cold temperatures thousands drove, Ubered, Lyfted, and walked to gather next to Bowie High School, for the March for Truth -in protest of President Donald Trump’s visit to the borderland on Monday.

Many in the crowd held colorful signs that varied from Basta Trump (Stop Trump), to We Don’t Need a Border Wall. Others illustrated Trump’s hair disheveled by wind; and at the rendezvous point, at Chalio Acosta Park, a large inflated balloon showcased the president dressed in a clansman outfit.

The March for Truth, led by the El Paso Women’s March, in conjunction with the Border Network for Human Rights and 45 more organizations, began just a mile east from the El Paso County Coliseum, where President Donald Trump would make his appearance.

With the backdrop of the U.S. Border behind them; and the sunset of the Franklin Mountains in front former U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke and newly elected U.S. Congresswoman Veronica Escobar spoke to the crowd.

“We have had a difficult two years El Paso,” Escobar said. “We have been at the center of the politics of cruelty. Politics that have ripped children from the arms of their mothers. Politics that have been preventing asylum seekers from seeking refuge on this very soil. Politics of cruelty that have imprisoned children in Tornillo. And are we angry? You’re damn right we are angry.”

Cheers and applause erupted.

Additional speakers at the March included former State Senator Wendy Davis; Fernando Garcia, Executive Director of the Border Network for Human Rights; Ruben Garcia, Director of the Annunciation House; Linda Rivas, and Claudia Yoli Ferla, a DACA Dreamer who was brought here illegally as a child by her mother in the hopes of seeking a better life.

“In El Paso she was a waitress, a cook, a dishwasher a caregiver, a school crossing guard – you name it,” Ferla said. “She was everything and anything she needed to be proudly so that I could be provided with a normal childhood despite being undocumented. […]So when this man (Trump), comes into mine, yours and our community, to tell us everything like lies and hate – I am reminded of the root of my power – my mother’s love. My mother’s dreams. And together in comunidad we have the power to also fight back – because when they hurt one of us – they hurt all of us.”

With the crowd pumped, event speakers led the march down Delta Drive, and into Chalio Acosta Park where mariachis and several other musicians welcomed the large crowd.  Then, O’Rourke took the stage.

“The city has been one of the safest in the United States of America,” He said. “For 20 years and counting it was safe long before a wall was built here in 2008. In fact, a little less safe after the wall was built. We can show, as we make our stand here together tonight, that walls do not make us safer. Walls will require us to take someone’s property – their house, their farm, their ranch. We know that walls do not save lives. Walls end lives.”

In his speech, O’Rourke mentioned the history of El Paso, including the story of Thelma White, who was denied admission into Texas Western University in 1954 because she was black. White hired attorney Thurgood Marshall, and in 1955 U.S. District Judge R.E. Thomason ruled in favor or white, allowing her and in turn – other black students admission to higher education in El Paso.

O’Rouke told the story of the 1949 Bowie Bears Baseball Team who won the championship in Austin after witnessing racism at the hotels and restaurants; He told the story of World War I Veteran Marcelino Serna, a U.S. Army Pvt, who became a U.S. citizen in 1924.

Serna was the first Hispanic to be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. The port of entry between Tornillo and Guadalupe Mexico was named in his honor. O’Rourke then pointed to the park across the way, named after the World War II Veterans Company E – many of them who were seniors from Bowie High school who served in France, Italy and North Africa.

“Here in the largest bi-national community, in the western hemisphere, 2.5 million people; two countries; speaking two languages and two cultures and two histories – who come together and are joined – not separated – by the Rio Grande River. We are forming something far greater and more powerful than the sum of people; or the sum of our parts. We have so much to give and so much to show the rest of the country and we are doing it right now.”

Just after 7 p.m., through gusts of wind, President Trump’s introductory song, the Rolling Stone’s, “Sympathy for the Devil,” could be heard. It was followed by Trump’s voice that echoed and the cheers and shouts could be heard from the inside the El Paso County Coliseum just a short distance away.

O’Rourke and march supporters were not deterred as they cheered and chanted, “Si se Puede,” and “Beto! Beto!” and “USA! USA!” O’Rourke then called for immigration reform to include safety for asylum seekers, citizenship for Dreamers and their parents, investment in better infrastructure for the personnel and the ports of entry.

Both the march and the rally come days after President Trump incorrectly claimed during the State of the Union on February 7, after it was delayed a week due to the Government shutdown, that El Paso was considered at one point, “one of our Nation’s most dangerous cities” and that the Border Wall El Paso was now one of the safest cities in nation.

The border wall that Trump referred to as a recent barrier in his State of the Union, was a bipartisan decision made in 2006, during the George W. Bush Administration.

The Secure Fence Act of 2006 replaced wired fencing along Tecate and Calexico, California; Douglas, Ariz., Columbus, New Mexico to ten miles east of El Paso, Texas; and Del Rio, Texas to five miles southeast of Eagle Pass, Texas; and 15 miles northwest of Laredo, Texas to Brownsville Texas.

The act also called for ground-sensors, satellites, radar coverage and additional means of technology with the use of more effective personnel along the southern border.

Additionally, El Paso was considered among the safest cities in the nation prior to the implementation of the Secure Fence Act according to FBI crime statistics.

Photos by author & Steve Zimmerman – El Paso Herald Post

Info: 40+ Groups to Hold ‘March for Truth’ in Response to President Trump’s Visit to El Paso

On Monday February 11, El Pasoans –  led by Border Network for Human Rights, Women’s March El Paso, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke – and in partnership with more than 45 other community partners, will take to the streets in the March for Truth.

Organizers share that the main reason for the march is to “stop the wall, stop the lies, and celebrate the El Paso community.”

Borderland residents will begin gathering along San Marcial Street next to Bowie High School at 5:00 p.m.

A brief rally featuring area leaders and community voices will begin at 5:30 p.m.; followed by a march a 6:00 p.m. and culminating in a celebration of community at Chalio Acosta Park on Shelter Place.

Women’s March El Paso is coordinating with a group of more than 60 local musicians including Fixed Idea, Radio La Chusma, Sinbuenos, mariachis and more to bring the Border region to life in South El Paso.

“We will unite to enjoy music, entertainment, and great company with the backdrop of our vibrant, multi-cultural region,” March officials said, “We look forward to showcasing our local talent and creating a family-friendly event that El Paso will be proud to promote to the rest of America.”

Via a news release, officials added:

“El Paso is a strong and safe community because of its people and its values. Border communities are a place of opportunity and hope. Trump’s fixation on a border wall and his distortions of life in El Paso and along the border are unacceptable. Our communities will always stand to include immigrants, oppose racism, and defend the truth. All of us must make a choice about whether we stand up for the truth or allow Trump to degrade our dignity and rights.”

Participating community organizers include: Border Network for Human Rights, Women’s March El Paso, Borderland Immigration Council, El Paso Democratic Party, New Mexico Democratic Party, ACLU Border Rights Center, Usual Suspects, El Paso Central Labor Council, Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee, Mexicanos En Exilio, Southwest Environmental Center, West Fund, Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe, LULAC El Paso, El Paso Equal Voice Network, El Paso Musicians United, HOPE Border Institute, La Mujer Obrera, AYUDA, Comite Justicia Laboral, Familias Unidas del Chamizal, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, ACLU of NM, ACLU of Texas, Big Bend Area Women’s March, Voto Latino, Battleground Texas Engagement Fund, Battleground Texas PAC, Latino Victory Fund, Onward Together, Our Revolution Texas, Deeds Not Words, Progress Texas, Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance, Unidos US, Office of Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, Office of Texas Senator Jose Rodriguez, Office of Texas Representative Mary Gonzalez, Office of Texas Representative Lina Ortega, Office of Texas Representative Cesar Blanco, Office of Texas Representative Joe Moody, Texas Representative-Elect Art Fierro, El Paso City Representative Alexsandra Annello, Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, Attorney Carlos Spector, Attorney Jessica Miles, Attorney Edwardo Beckett, Father Arturo Bañuelas.

WHEN: MONDAY FEBRUARY 11TH AT 5:00 P.M.

WHERE: 801 S. SAN MARCIAL STREET to CHALIO ACOSTA PARK

***

Below is more information from Beto O’ Rourke: 

Showcasing the Vibrancy of His Hometown, Beto O’Rourke to Participate in Monday Evening March and Will Speak at a Celebration of El Paso’s Culture, History, Diversity and Status As a Binational Community of Immigrants

EL PASO, TEXAS — Beto O’Rourke will join with his city on Monday evening to show the country the reality of the border — a vibrant, safe, binational community that proudly celebrates its culture, history, diversity and status as a city of immigrants. While some try to stoke fear and paranoia, to spread lies and a false narrative about the U.S.-Mexico border and to demand a 2,000 mile wall along it at a time of record safety and security, El Paso will come together for a march and celebration that highlights the truth.

The community will gather at Bowie High School at 5:00 p.m. MT and then march to Chalio Acosta Sports Center where the celebration of El Paso will occur. O’Rourke will speak around 7:00 p.m. MT from Chalio Acosta Sports Center, and the evening’s events are open to the press.

DETAILS
5:00 p.m. MT Gather at Bowie High School, 801 S San Marcial St. in El Paso
6:00 p.m. MT March to Chalio Acosta Sports Center, 4321 Delta Dr. in El Paso
6:30 p.m. MT Celebration of El Paso with music and speakers
7:00 p.m. MT Beto O’Rourke speaks at El Paso celebration

***

Below is more information from Rep Veronica Escobar:

On Monday, February 11, at 12:30 p.m. MT, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and El Paso elected officials will hold a press conference to ask President Donald Trump to correct the record on his misleading State of the Union remarks about El Paso, and to apologize to El Pasoans for misrepresenting their hometown.

This press conference follows Congresswoman Escobar’s letter to President Trump inviting him to tour the community and to hear from local stakeholders to get a full understanding of the border.

WHO
U.S. Congresswoman Veronica Escobar
Texas Representative César J. Blanco
El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego
El Paso County Commissioner Carlos Leon

WHEN
Monday, February 11, at 12:30 p.m. MT

WHERE
Chamizal National Memorial, 1st Amendment Area
Entrance through the Delta Drive Gate

***

City Services to be Affected Due to President’s Visit

EL PASO, Texas – Due to the anticipated visit of the President of the United States to the El Paso County Coliseum on Monday, February 11, the following City facilities and services will be affected.

The Parks and Recreation Department

Acosta Sports Center, 4321 Delta Dr., and the Hilos de Plata Senior Center, 4451 Delta Dr., will close at 1 p.m. Both facilities will resume normal operational hours on Tuesday, February 12.

El Paso Zoo

Closed for the day. The zoo will return to normal operations the following day, Tuesday, February 12.

El Paso Municipal Courts

Municipal Courts 1, 2, 4, and 5 cases set after 11 a.m. will be cancelled. All other municipal courts will not be impacted.

El Paso International Airport

Passengers are encouraged to check their flight schedules on the El Paso International Airport website or call their airline for their latest flight information. Click on “Flight Info” tab at www.flyelpaso.com

***

Early release planned for some schools on Monday Presidential visit will impact 13 EPISD schools near Coliseum

EL PASO, TEXAS — Several El Paso Independent School District campuses near the site of a planned rally by President Donald Trump will have early release on Monday in anticipation of large crowds and potential traffic issues.
The schools, all of which are near the El Paso County Coliseum, will release students at noon on Monday. Classes at all campuses will resume as normal on Tuesday.
The impacted schools are:
• Aoy, Beall, Burleson, Clardy, Cooley, Douglass, Hart and Zavala elementary schools. The afternoon pre-kindergarten and Head Start sessions will be moved to the morning. . • Guillen and Henderson middle schools. • Bowie, Jefferson and Silva Health Magnet high schools.
All after-school activities for the impacted campuses are cancelled on Monday.
EPISD officials worked with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to determine an appropriate plan of action for the presidential visit. EPISD Police said there are is indication of road closures that may have impacted the operation and release time of schools outside the vicinity of the Coliseum.
The rest of the district’s schools, including Central Office, will operate on a normal schedule on Monday.

Videos+Story: Border Rights Advocates Push Back on Presidential Address

Before the first words of President Trump’s prime time Oval Office address Tuesday night, border human rights advocates already had a rebuttal ready.

“What we have seen at the border over the past two years are the impacts and chaos caused by a cruel and racist President who has no respect for the rule of law,” Fernando Garcia with the Border Network for Human Rights said just moments after the Presidential Address was over.

The first Presidential prime time address was meant to convince Americans that the government shutdown, now in its 17th day, is needed in order to hold out for funding for a steel fence along the nation’s southern border.

Many immigration advocates at Tuesday night’s event at BNHR say the address did little to provide concrete evidence of a sincere crisis at our southern border.

“Why, even if there was something urgent at the border right now, why this administration would choose to respond with a wall that will take years or decades to build,” said Garcia.

Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, who now has a massive online following, decided to take a direct approach to the assertion by President Trump that there is a national emergency at the border.

O’Rourke took to Facebook live to walk viewers around his Sunset Heights neighborhood, discuss the proximity of El Paso to Ciudad Juarez and our dependence on each other for economic and social prosperity. Former City Council member Steve Ortega and Joel Guzman, both fellow Sunset Heights residents joined in on the discussion.

While Trump was quick to bring up two recent murders in the U.S. allegedly committed by undocumented immigrants, he also failed to mention the deaths of Guatemalan migrant children Jakelin Caal or Felipe Alonso-Gomez, who both became ill and died while in custody of the U.S. Border Patrol.

Father Arturo Bañuelos with the Catholic Diocese argued that the lack of the President’s compassion for the true humanitarian crisis happening across the border was part of a larger problem.

“We need real, lasting, humane, and permanent solutions ro our immigration system that provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. and that builds a legal system that comforts with reality moving forward. With a President unable and unwilling to act, Congress must lead,” said Garcia.

During Christmas week, El Paso saw a massive surge of migrants being released by ICE from detention facilities, which sent organizations in the Sun City to scramble to house and feed the massive release of families.

On December 26, ICE released a record 522 migrants from detention in a single day. By Wednesday, January 9, all three of the emergency shelters that were opened by Annunciation House during Christmas to house the unexpected surge of migrants will be closed. The closures are representative of a return to ‘normal’ release numbers by ICE since New Year’s Day.

The overall flow of migrant families into the U.S. is still far more than it has been in recent memory according to Annunciation House Executive Director Ruben Garcia in a previous interview.

President Trump is expected to make a trip to McAllen on Thursday to survey the southern border for himself. While he has previously indicated he would consider declaring a national emergency in order to fund the construction of the Border Wall, he stopped short of any declaration on Tuesday during his address.

In a response via Twitter Tuesday night, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar said “Tonight’s speech offered nothing new, just another glimpse at a POTUS w/ no understanding of how to cope w/ challenges of changing migration patterns. When he goes to south TX on Thurs, he’ll do the usual photo ops w/ federal agents. Maybe he’ll wear cowboy boots and ride a horse.”

The El Paso Herald Post will continue to offer coverage of the proposed Border Wall and the Government Shutdown.

Watch Full Border Network for Human Rights Press Conference Below

President Trump’s Address to the Nation on Border Security (Courtesy CSpan)

 

 

 

Video+Story: Construction of $22 Million Border Wall Set to Begin Saturday

The construction of a $22 million Border Wall in Downtown El Paso will begin on Saturday, according to Border Patrol officials.

“This new wall will be far more durable and far more effective in deterring would-be illegal entrants,” El Paso Border Patrol Sector Chief Aaron Hull said.

Funding for the project was earmarked in the 2017 Appropriations Bill as part of the President’s Executive Order 13767

Construction on the 18-foot steel bollard wall will replace current chain-link fencing that is currently in place. One mile of the steel structure will be built west of the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry and the remaining three miles will be east of the PDN Bridge and will join with an existing 12-foot steel fence that begins on near Fonseca Road along the Border Highway.

The contract for the wall’s construction was awarded to West Point Contractors of Tucson, Arizona on June 1, 2018 but was not announced to the public until September 18.

Border Patrol maintains that the area is a hotspot for illegal entry into the U.S. When asked to provide specific numbers of illegal crossings in the area, officials with the Border Patrol were unable to give specifics. Instead, they say that their experience working in the area is all the evidence needed to show the four mile stretch is at a higher susceptibility for illegal border crossings.

The construction project came as a surprise to many in the Chihuahuita community, city leaders and immigration advocates.

Border Network for Human Rights called the announcement of the construction at the last minute “unacceptable.”

Fernando Garcia with BNHR organizes a bi-annual event called “Hugs Not Walls” which unites families separated by the Border in the arroyo near the PDN Bridge. On Monday, officials with the Border Patrol contacted Garcia to inform him that a previously approved permit for October 6, was being rescinded due to the wall’s construction.

Hull said the Border Patrol will continue to work with community stakeholders in the future, but said border security is their top priority. He declined to state whether Hugs Not Walls would be able to continue at the conclusion of the wall’s construction.

The El Paso Sector Border says apprehensions in the 2018 Fiscal Year were up 61% over 2017. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy in April, which was enacted in May. The policy resulted in controversial family separation and the creation of ‘tent cities’ which housed children separated from their parents.

In response to the wall’s construction, the Border Network for Human Rights and a number of community activists and elected officials joined together to announce a community action demonstration for Saturday, September 22 at 10 a.m. at Cleveland Square to protest the construction project.

The demonstration is expected to move toward the Paso Del Norte Bridge.

Story in Many Pics: Groups March to International Bridge to Protest Immigration Policies

On Saturday morning, several organizations including the Border Network for Human Rights, Women’s March El Paso, Las Americas, DMRS, Mexicanos en Exilio, and Borderland Immigration Council, Hope Border Institute marched to raise awareness against the Trump’s administration’s zero-tolerance policy and the practice of separating children from their parents and the criminalization of asylum seekers.

The march began at Cleveland Square and ended at the Paso Del Norte Bridge.

Our very own Alexandra Hinojosa was at the march and brings you her view via this Story in Many Pics.

 

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