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Border Network for Human Rights
Border Enforcement Policy Solutions for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

hose living at the border T understand the need for responsible border security more than most. A secure border would mean freer, safer and more prosperous border communities. However, something has gone wrong. In the rush to build walls, install technology and put boots on the ground, a core American value of accountability has been left behind. In recent years, border enforcement programs have been the subject of unprecedented spending and expansion. In fact, every border enforcement benchmark contained in the 2006, 2007 and 2010 Senate bills have been met. Yet, immigration reform is still held hostage to the ever-changing goalposts of border security.

need to deal with our borders in a rational way. That requires investing in the infrastructure and staffing at the ports of entry along our southern border. This is of the utmost importance to people doing business with and in border states. We now know that these legal entry points account for most of the illegal movement of drugs, money, weapons and people into and out of the U.S. — yet funding of the ports has lagged behind other border security measures. As long as these ports are dysfunctional and enforcement remains unaccountable, border economies will be choked off and real threats to national security will slip through the cracks. ❚

The American values of checks and balances, accountability and fiscal responsibility must apply to the U.S. government’s largest law enforcement operation — border and immigration enforcement. Border communities, like the rest of the U.S., need an immigration enforcement system that is accountable and responsible. What we have now under President Obama is a policy of indiscriminate mass deportation, unlimited spending and misplaced priorities. In 2012, the U.S. spent more on ramping up enforcement against immigrants and border communities than on every other federal law enforcement agency combined. Yet this massive system has no mechanisms for accountability, oversight or transparency. Checks and balances is an American tradition. We cannot accept that this tradition doesn’t apply to the U.S. government’s largest law enforcement system. But this doesn’t mean that there isn’t still work to be done at the borders. It does mean that we

the U.. Border Patrol.” Source: Business Week.7 billion.S. Department of Homeland Security in testimony to the House Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security on February 26. has 10 border drones. Chief. Michael J. Achieving “operational control” of the border Increasing border personnel Increasing border infrastructure and surveillance Increasing penalties for border crossers.000. and immigration agents have deported some 1. Source: “Border Security: Moving Beyond Past Benchmarks. In FY 2012.394 agents— 18. and 21. an increase of 64% since FY 2006. we have received unprecedented resources. raise the number of Border Patrol agents to 20. U. including prosecution and incarceration. 2013. both in terms of Border Patrol agents and technology. 300 towers.2 In 2010.co/1005Yxy 2 Border Policy Solutions for Immigration Reform . build 105 radar and camera towers.. and erect 670 miles of fencing. Because of this committee’s support and others.” AILA. Fencing now covers 651 miles of the border.org. February 21. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) alone was funded at $11.B E N C H M A R K S R E A C H E D Go From Quantity to Quality “. http://buswk. Today. twice the length in 2009. Fisher. Congress passed a special border security bill providing an additional $600 million on top of the amount already appropriated.” — Mr.S. http://bit. 2013.-Mexico border. Republican lawmakers demanded that President Bush deploy four drones to scan the border.ly/ZIo48K “In negotiating the failed 2007 deal. the most since Dwight Eisenhower was president.S.500 of them stationed on the U.5 million undocumented workers in the past four years. And there are more sections along this border that are secure because of that.

Border enforcement must reflect our shared American values of accountability and oversight. In the past. Members are to be recognized community members with expertise on immigration. Provisions to expand the border fence or permit further construction 2. border residents. public-private contracts.A B E T T E R A P P R O A C H Bring the Border to the Table And Infuse Accountability into the Strategy We can do better by moving on and putting our resources into stopping real threats and creating accountability for our current border enforcement strategies. and grants to state and local governments. and local law enforcement have not been considered as partners in making the border region better and more secure. Expansion of resources or requirements for installation of SBInet until it has demonstrated cost-effectiveness 5. Additional resources or expansion of Operation Streamline 7. Military or national guard deployment to the border 6. Demands on local law enforcement to participate in immigration enforcement. respect for human and civil rights. their respective polices. Border Policy Solutions for Immigration Reform 3 . business owners. for example through Stonegarden grants 4. Increased criminal sentences for crossing the border without inspection BNHR recommends a DHS Border Oversight Task Force to bring accountability to border enforcement programs. policies and strategies. This must change. A public advisory taskforce for community relations oversight of DHS agencies. programs. DHS Border Oversight Task Force Sensible legislation Must Not Include: 1. and the quality of life of border communities and their economies. and fiscal responsibility. civil and constitutional rights. Broadening of border patrol powers or jurisdiction 3.

including how to apply these laws during border enforcement procedures. complaint procedures. Community Consultation There shall be mandatory and formalized consultation with border communities through the creation of a Border Communities Liaison Office located within DHS. in which we encourage legitimate cross-border commerce and travel. The Liaison Office shall be empowered to share agency policies with border community representatives and receive grievances or complaints from the public. DHS shall submit to Congress a report that includes an assessment of impacts of current and proposed border infrastructure and operations on migrant deaths. evaluate. particularly between ports of entry. and review the activities of federal agencies at the borders and in the immediate interior. concerns and insights of those who know the border best and are directly impacted by policies – border communities – must be systematically taken into consideration when developing these policies. increased unacceptable racial profiling. the civil. The DHS agents and personnel responsible for the border must receive improved training and oversight on their responsibilities to uphold the law and safeguard the border region. and effective process. DHS shall halt further construction of the border fence pending the submission and review of this report by Congress. including our border communities. complaints should be publicly accessible records. The Task Force shall conduct independent investigations. and consistent. and copies of complaints and their resolution should be permanently preserved. community consultation. The needs. Improve Training for Border Security Personnel DHS. and economic wellbeing of our nation. transparent. DHS shall establish and enforce short term custody standards providing for basic prisoner rights at all Border Patrol stations and short term custody facilities. civil and human rights. from northern and southern border communities and experts on border issues. tracked. we recommend the following legislative priorities. terrorism. A community liaison from this office shall be present in each border sector. human rights. training. border patrol agents. rhetoric of a “border crackdown” holds considerable sway for some in Congress. Border policies must shift away from this enforcement-only paradigm and the notion of the border as barrier to one as a gateway. and Customs agents in civil and constitutional rights. DHS shall not increase the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators. including policies against racial profiling and the provisions regarding searches of electronic equipment. and created a militarized border situation that deters migrants from leaving the United States as well as from entering. instead of considering a comprehensive approach. Congress. DHS shall specify clear standards for protecting due process and individual rights at ports of entry according to current law. which emphasize oversight. personnel. or Deputy United States Marshals unless and until it has allocated sufficient ports of entry personnel. Additionally. wellbeing and civil rights of border communities and their residents. Fence construction shall not be resumed unless Congress subsequently reauthorizes construction. including arms and drug trafficking. In order to be an accessible. conditions in Border Patrol facilities and vehicles. DHS shall require regular recertification on these topics for all agents involved in enforcement operations. DHS Border Mandatory Reporting Oversight Task Force on Migrant Death at The DHS Border Oversight Task Force shall be the Border composed of diverse appointed stakeholders. and infrastructure have characterized the federal government’s management of the Southwest border. and relevant federal agencies on a semiannual basis. DHS training programs. The Task Force shall hold federal border enforcement agencies accountable and provide recommendations regarding border operations. and recommendations to the President. and a description of efforts taken to mitigate or eliminate negative impacts. adequate use of force. and property rights of border community residents. how. in consultation with the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the DOJ Civil Rights Division. The Task Force shall oversee the implementation of federal policies and programs on the borders. and federal border security and immigration policy. jeopardized the safety. specifying to whom. security. ICE. and submit reports. Within this context. During the last two decades. findings. the United States adopted a fundamentally flawed “bordersecurity-only” model that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Our under-resourced and understaffed ports of entry need more equipment and personnel to both welcome entrants to the United States and effectively protect against criminal and security risks. and basic immigration law. Uniform Complaint Process DHS shall establish a standardized complaint process. In this new paradigm. and resolved for all Border Patrol stations and Ports of Entry. human. on commerce and the environment. and where complaints are to be filed. shall review and improve training requirements for Border Patrol.B O R D E R P O L I C Y P R I O R I T I E S Policies directed at the border must be consistent with American humanitarian values and simultaneously bolster the safety. dramatic expansion of resources. community relations and racial sensitivity. ! To make this paradigm shift. and other serious criminal activity. and public accountability. and report quarterly on the number of individuals held in short term custody and the duration of their detention. 4 Border Policy Solutions for Immigration Reform . As a result. our enforcement operations must focus on efforts that effectively and proportionately address genuine risks to safety and security of the United States and communities along the border. Standards for Ports of Entry and Custody DHS shall allocate additional resources and staffing to ports of entry to improve infrastructure and expedite legal entry and exits.

we have developed a vision for federal border policies that create a safe. Suite 1100 Washington. the Border Network for Human Rights has emerged as a leader on the realities and consequences of federal border policy. This model makes border residents partners in national security policy rather than the targets of it.S.C. Once Congress finishes this year’s debate on immigration reform. In fact. Over the years. we have developed what we call the “El Paso Model” for border security. it becomes clear how it is no accident that El Paso. transparency and fiscal responsibility that we demand of other government systems must also apply to the U. we have reduced the number and severity of human rights abuses by federal agents in our region over the last 10 years. local elected officials and local law enforcement departments.C.C. and federal border agents. we will enter a new phase of discussion and policy development on enforcement. Elena Lacayo. In addition to consulting with people living and working in border communities. the Border Network has been working with diverse sectors who represent the total picture of border life. TX 79930 In Washington. NW. This includes business and religious leaders. Policy Director 915-494-1191 jmescobedo@bnhr. it was through this dialogue with Border Patrol that the El Paso Sector became the only Border Patrol Sector to currently have a non-uniformed community liaison officer.B N H R . government’s largest and most costly law enforcement system — the border and immigration enforcement system.org Border Network for Human Rights. D.S. Office 1120 Connecticut Ave. through building a relationship of understanding and respect between border communities and our local Border Patrol sector. proving that these two priorities need not be in competition with each other.S. ❚ Border Policy Solutions for Immigration Reform At the Border Jose Manuel Escobedo. And we believe that the same accountability. This development represented an important victory for human rights and security in the region. free and prosperous region for those who live and work here. D. Policy & Advocacy Coordinator 202-384-5893 elacayo@bnhr. These national solutions are informed by our success in bringing accountability to border enforcement regionally. Out of our years of experience. This model for bringing accountability and dialogue with local communities to border enforcement strategies can and should be replicated for all Border Patrol sectors. Therefore these recommendations will only be more necessary and relevant as the U. Texas. There is no doubt that border enforcement will continue to feature prominently. academics. D. enters a post-reform era on immigration and enforcement. For example. 20036 5 .org Border Network for Human Rights. city for it’s size. Taking all of this into consideration. What happens at the border matters a great deal for the rest of the country. O R G About Border Network for Human Rights After 15 years of organizing communities on the border around Constitutional and human rights education. El Paso Office 2115 Piedras El Paso. has been repeatedly ranked as the safest U.

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