Arizona Community Press | www.azcommunitypress.org
A National Day of Action Against Border Militarization was held on Wednesday, July 17th at border communities in the southern United States. Tucson, Arizona held an action that started with a march from the Federal Building on Congress and Granada to Senator John McCain’s office for a Muerte-In or “Die-In”. The contact organization was Coalicion de Derechos Humanos AZ. Other organizations involved in the national effort included The Border Network for Human Rights, Presente.org, Detention Watch Network, and the Southern Borders Communities Coalition, and others.
The actions took place in ten cities that were protesting the bi-partisan Senate’s Corker-Hoeven amendment and other legislation being proposed in the House of Representatives. The amendment proposes increasing the number of border patrol agents by 20,000 while adding 700 miles of additional border wall. It will also include increased spending of billions of tax dollars on surveillance and other technology at a border. Already, more than 7 million U.S. Citizens, residents and families that live in border communities are subjected to the “100-mile rule,” which the ACLU and other groups denounce as a “Constitution Free Zone” stretching from San Diego, California to Brownsville, Texas.
Recently Senator McCain has said,
The legislation concerning beefed up border security removes any validity to the argument that border security is not sufficient,” McCain said of the amendment, which was authored by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.).
“I mean this is not only sufficient, it is well over-sufficient,” he added. “We’ll be the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall. That’s why I think this amendment was very important.”
The action in Tucson ended at McCain’s office for a “die-in”. Some protesters held posters with the picture of 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, gunned down by the U.S. Border Patrol on October 10, 2012. The organization, No More Deaths, has this to say on their website about the immigration bill and deaths at the border,
The Gang of 8’s last-minute “border surge” will lead to a surge in border deaths. Since 1994, when the United States began a rapid expansion of border-enforcement personnel and infrastructure, more than 6,000 individuals have died attempting to migrate to the United States. The Senate’s immigration reform bill will exclude many of the nearly two million individuals deported in an unprecedented wave under the Obama administration. These individuals include the 80,000+ convicted of “illegal entry” and “illegal re-entry” under enforcement programs like Operation Streamline. Many of these individuals have homes, families, and lives here in the United States, and will attempt to cross again regardless of the consequences. Yet the bill’s harsh “border surge” will ensure that those who do cross in the future will face extreme hardship and difficulty, and lead to many thousands more tragic, unnecessary deaths.”
For 99 additional photos by Steve Pavey from the event go to: Flickr photo album of the National Day of Action against Militarization of the Border by Pavey-Artivists