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The root of the problem

If nothing else, we could all agree on this point. There is a prevailing narrative about the U.S. border and it is false and it is dangerous to border communities. There are untruths out there about our border region that ultimately make it difficult for

entrepreneurs to conduct business, for religious communities to serve as they see fit and for local and federal law agencies to keep the public safe. But these untruths also make it difficult for anyone to seek out rational policies for the border.

Together or independently, many of us had already tried to promote rational border policies. So of this when Texas Gov. Rick Perry tries to underscore his political position that the border is

far, those efforts have been stymied by rhetoric and political grandstanding. We see the evidence not secure by saying that a car bomb has gone off in downtown El Paso. Despite this statement however false, fits the media and political narrative about life at the border.

being completely false, it was quickly and widely reported. The sad fact is that the car bomb story,

We could all agree that we cannot just aim for impacting policy discussions. We have to start at the stories people are telling about us the border narrative. And we came together as border enforcement to face this challenge. community members and religious communities, border academics, local elected officials and law

The Border Network for Human Rights asked representatives from all along the border including religious communities, border academics, local elected officials and law enforcement to gather a new vision to challenge the current, prevailing narrative. group of their peers to write a new narrative of the border. These documents represent each sectors

Its our belief that the border is a window into the future of the U.S. This is not just a demographic argument. We believe that policies tested at the border will one day make it into the interior. Whether those are policies of criminalization and militarization or policies of community development and the protection of peoples human rights remains to be seen.

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Our common principles toward a new narrative


Here we examine the many commonalities found across each subsequent narrative

Todays Border is Tomorrows America


As many sectors with different philosophies and priorities came together to draft their vision for a better-understood border, several common principles emerged. They focused on security, the economy and human rights, issues of great importance for border communities. These principles deny the stereotypes generally applied to the border and decry the negative consequences that emerges and a new lesson can be learned: With its peaceful, diverse and dynamic present, the border provides a positive roadmap for the America of tomorrow. emerge from applying said stereotypes. By reestablishing the truth about border life, a new reality

In reality, the border is not an area of national security threat.


1. The border is an asset to national security.
The notion that the border is a national security threat, because it is porous to terrorists and immigrants, leads some to believe that we need to continue securing the border at great cost to the taxpayer. In reality, the border is not an area of national security threat, immigration is at an all time low, the security apparatus is at saturation levels and we should demand more quality than quantity when it comes to border security in the future.

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There are no threats of terrorism at the border: According to the Department of States annual

Country Reports on Terrorism (2011)1, No known international terrorist organization had an territory.

operational presence in Mexico and no terrorist group targeted U.S. citizens in or from Mexican

Immigration is at an all-time low: In 1999-2000, more than 700,000 Mexican immigrants came to the United States each year. By 2007, they were 280,000; then 150,000 in 2009 and even lower in 2010 (Pew Hispanic Center2).

Fences, technology, arresting immigrants and militarizing the border are strategies that dont work and are a burden to the tax payer:
According to a report by the Government Accountability Office entitled Border Security: DHS Progress and Challenges in Securing the U.S. Southwest and Northern Borders3 (2011) a total of $2.4 billion dollars has been spent in constructing the border wall which has failed to prevent people from entering the United States illegally. Illegal immigrants find other ways of entering the United States. For example, tunnels are now being created underground and are now being used to cross over into the United States. It will take an additional $6.5 billion dollars to maintain the border wall over the next 20 years. In 2010, to repair ($1,800 per breach). In total, the expense of the border wall is estimated at a sum of $16.1 billion dollars.

there were 4,037 documented breaches that cost the tax payers an extra $7.2 million dollars

Texas Governor Rick Perrys Virtual Border Surveillance Program has also been proven inthe goal of the program was to install 200 cameras along the Border Wall to help aid in at 26 arrests have been made. A total of $4 million dollars has been spent in support of the Virtual Border Surveillance Program at a cost of $153,800 per arrest.

effective. In a report produced by Brandi Grissom, a reporter for the Texas Tribune (2010)4 least an approximate 1,200 arrests. In reality, only 29 cameras have been installed and only

Operation Streamline, which goal is to funnel all apprehended undocumented migrants into the federal criminal justice system and eventually into U.S. prisons, burdening the justice and prison systems with non-criminals, according to a study by Berkeley Law School.5 The

1 2 3 4 5

U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2011, July 31, 2012, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2011/195546.htm. Pew Hispanic Center, Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero and Perhaps Less, May 3, 2012, http://www.pewhispanic. org/2012/04/23/net-migration-from-mexico-falls-to-zero-and-perhaps-less/ Government accountability Office, DHS Progress and Challenges in Securing the U.S. Southwest and Northern Borders, March 30, 2011, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-508T Texas Tribune, Border Produce Little in Two Years, April 20, 2010, Brandi Grissom, http://www.texastribune.org/search/?q=border+su rveillance+program+brandi+&x=0&y=0 Berkeley Law School, Assembly Line Justice: A Review of Operation Streamline, January 2010, Joanna Lydgate, http://www.law. berkeley.edu/files/Operation_Streamline_Policy_Brief.pdf

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study found that the operation created unprecedented caseloads in eight of the eleven fed-

eral districts along the border, forcing many courts to cut prosecutorial corners by conducting en mass hearings and distracting resources from criminal cases. Meanwhile, a report by National Public Radio6, found no deterrent effect on the likelihood that migrants would cross again.

Finally, military personnel and equipment deployed on the border have been costly and inefficient. The 1,200 National Guard troops posted on the border in 2010 have helped Border Patrol agents apprehend 25,514 illegal immigrants at a cost of $160million or $6,271 for each person caught, according to The Washington Post7. An internal Department of Homeland Security audit8 found that CBP used its nine Predator drones (purchased for around $18 million each) at only 37% of the minimum desired capacity. Despite the current underutilization of unmanned aircraft, CBP the audit notes. According to statistics cited by The Washington Post9, the drone program led to the apprehension of 4,865 undocumented immigrants between 2006 and 2011 (compared with 327,577 captured in 2011 alone.)

received two additional aircraft in late 2011 and was awaiting delivery of a tenth aircraft in 2012,

We should rethink border enforcement policies and aim for quality, not quantity: Long-term goals related to border security need to be the vision of the U.S. Congress especially in regard to immigration and immigration enforcement to prevent inconsistencies in the implementation of federal programs throughout the nation. We can only build so many fences and pour so much reform should be part of this strategy. money into hiring federal agents to place along the border. Passing comprehensive immigration

2. Border communities are safe.


A popular view of border communities is that they are unsafe because their are inhabited by a large immigrant population and because they are in the path of immigrants and immigrants are criminals. This misconception often leads to demands that local police enforce immigration laws. The reality is that most immigrants are not criminals, border communities have low crime levels
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National Public Radio, Claims of Border Program Success Are Unproven, September 13, 2010, Ted Robbins, http://www.npr.org/ templates/story/story.php?storyId=129827870 The Washington Post, National Guard Deployment on U.S.-Mexico Border Has Unclear Results, December 5, 2011, William Booth, http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/national-guard-deployment-on-us-mexico-border-has-mixedresults/2011/11/21/gIQAly6qXO_story.html Department of Homeland Security, CBPs Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the Nations Border Security, May 2012, http://www. oig.dhs.gov/assets/Mgmt/2012/OIG_12-85_May12.pdf. Washington Post, More Predator Drones Fly U.S.-Mexico Border, December 21, 2012, William Booth, http://www.washingtonpost. com/world/more-predator-drones-fly-us-mexico-border/2011/12/01/gIQANSZz8O_story.html

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and immigrants are often the ones who feel targeted and unsafe. To keep border communities safe,

we should support community policing strategies that engage, not alienate, immigrant populations. Immigrants are not criminals: A century of crime data finds that crime rates are lower for imundocumented immigrant population doubled since 1994, violent crime declined by a third and property crime by a quarter in the United States. In addition, immigrants are five times

migrants than for native-born, research by the Immigration Policy Center10 found. Even as the

less likely to be in prison than native-born. Most undocumented immigrants are non-criminals, having only entered the country without the necessary paperwork, an administrative violation. It is their interaction with immigration authorities that earns them the label criminal. Under in the U.S. criminal justice system for the federal crime of being here illegally.

Operation Streamline, a sharply increased number of undocumented persons are being charged

The reality is that most immigrants are not criminals, border communities have low crime levels and immigrants are often the ones who feel targeted and unsafe.
Border communities have low crime rates: Despite a violent drug war that has devastated Northern Mexico, the U.S. side of the border has been largely spared from a spillover. The crime rate in border counties is lower than in non-border counties and crime levels have been decreasing for years. According to a July 2011 USA Today11 report reviewing crime data from 1,600 law

enforcement agencies in border cities in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, homicide

and robbery rates were lower than the states averages. They also found that violent crime along the U.S.-Mexico border have been falling for years -- even before the U.S. security buildup that included thousands of law enforcement officers According to FBI data, from 2005 to 2010, in Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico violent crimes rates went down 11%, homicide rates went down 19% (Washington Office of Latina America12).

10 Immigration Policy Center, Immigrants and Crime: Are They Connected?, October 25, 2008, http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/justfacts/immigrants-and-crime-are-they-connected-century-research-finds-crime-rates-immigrants-are 11 USA Today, U.S. Border Cities Prove Havens From Mexico Drug Violence, July 18, 2011, Alan Gomez, Jack Gillum and Kevin Johnson, http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011-07-15-border-violence-main_n.htm 12 Washington Office on Latin America, Beyond the Border Buildup, April 2012, http://www.wola.org/files/Beyond_the_Border_ Buildup_FINAL.pdf

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Immigrants are the ones who feel unsafe because of unfair treatment: Several community or-

ganizations along the border report that their immigrant communities suffer a high level of harassment by law enforcement and are living in fear of the police. This situation invariably materializes in locations where the local police chooses to enforce immigration laws. This leaves ness if they fear they or their loved ones could be deported. Criminals have been known to prey on undocumented immigrants for this very reason.

immigrants in a very vulnerable position: They may be afraid to report crime as a victim or a wit-

We should support community policing for the safety of all:


All law enforcement agencies should be accountable to the community and work in partner-

ship with residents, including immigrants, because they are part of the solution.

criminals in their communities because 1) they do not have the resources to meet this

Local law enforcement agencies should refrain from enforcing immigration laws on non-

unfunded mandate, 2) they are not experts in immigration law, 3) many officials doubt that undermine the trust and cooperation that officers have spent years building in immigrant communities. With this trust and respect comes cooperation from the community that the border area.

asking people for papers could be done without engaging in racial profiling, and 4) it would

offers law enforcement agencies to a reliable source of information that will help to protect

pitals and projects to improve community safety and quality of life. The COPS grants, for instance, have poured money into Texas but the El Paso County Sheriff s Office has been passed over for two years.

Federal grants to border states should trickle down to local law enforcement agencies, hos-

entity that prohibits local law enforcement from doing immigration checks.

We should oppose anti-sanctuary laws that would deny state funding to any governing

3. The ports of entry deserve our attention.


The widespread image of criminality at the border is of drug and people smuggling taking place in the stretches of wilderness between ports of entry and therefore, the conventional wisdom is that we need to to focus security resources there. Most of the criminal activity at the border, however, trade takes place at ports of entry.

takes place at the understaffed ports of entry. In addition, all of the legitimate border crossings and

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Most of the drugs that enter the United States at the border come in through the ports-of-entry:

According to the Department of Justice, 90% of illegal drugs entering the United States come through ports of entry, hidden in cargo shipments, cars or in pedestrians belongings, not between ports of entry13.

Drug money and weapons cross back into Mexico at ports of entry: Drug traffickers would not be able to operate if they werent able to import their profits back into Mexico or if they werent able to import high-powered, U.S.-made weapons. U.S. law enforcement concerning weapons

and money going into Mexico exists, but has been found wanting as evidenced by the Fast and of hundreds of firearms they allowed into the hands of Mexican drug cartels14.

Furious operation in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lost track

Most of the criminal activity at the border, however, takes place at the understaffed ports of entry.
Yet, ports of entry are underfunded compared with enforcement efforts between ports of entry. A 2010 spending supplement added 1,000 new Border Patrol agents but just 250 new customs agents at ports. In 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol spent nearly $1 billion more

on security in between ports than at them, according to the General Accounting Office15. The presidents proposed 2012 budget funds 670 new Border Patrol agents but just 300 new CBP positions at ports16.

We need to invest in our ports of entry: During a 2007 study by the Government Accountability Office, officials made the following observation. At seven of the eight major ports we visited, officers and man- agers told us that not having sufficient staff contributes to morale problems,

fatigue, lack of backup support and safety issues when officers inspect travelersincreasing the

13 U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security Hearing, Using Resources Effectively to Secure Our Border at Ports of Entry Stopping the Illicit Flow of Money, Guns and Drugs, April 5, 2011, p. 57, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG112hhrg72225/pdf/CHRG-112hhrg72225.pdf 14 Los Angeles Times, ATFs Fast and Furious Scandal, 2012, http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/atf-fast-furioussg,0,3828090.storygallery 15 Government Accountability Office, DHS Progress and Challenges in Securing the U.S. Southwest and Northern Borders, March 30, 2011, http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11508t.pdf 16 Homeland Security budget, 2012, http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/budget-bib-fy2012.pdf

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potential that terrorists, inadmissible travelers and illicit goods could enter the country.17 It is ture maintenance and upgrade in order to increase vigilance and permit a smooth and orderly flow of border crossers.

essential that our ports of entry receive adequately staffing, technological support and infrastruc-

4. The border economy is crucial for the nation.


The border is often looked down upon as a depressed area of no overall importance for the impact of stringent, security-only measures and even allows them to regularly call for the increasingly choke it and diminish its potential. economy of the United States. This view unburdens politicians from considering the economic United States to close the border. In reality, the border economy is thriving and security measure

The border is an important economic hub for the border states and for the United States:
border in the world. According to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 111 million passengers in personal vehicles, 2.7 million bus passengers, 40 million pedestrians, and 4.9 million trucks crossed to the United States from Mexico in 201118. More people cross the US-Mexico border more than 430,000 per day -- than any other

the third largest U.S trading partner and is the second largest export market for U.S. busiMexico $198 billion, with the great majority coming from the four contiguous U.S. states. translates to $45 million an hour.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce border report (2010), Mexico has become

nesses. In 2011, Mexican exports to United States totaled $263 billion and U.S. exports to The report indicates that $1 billion of cross border commerce is taking place every day; this

fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables with 80% of most products carried across the border by truck.

Mexico also serves as our largest provider of petroleum and the largest foreign supplier of

commerce. Thirty-one million American jobs are sustained due to doing cross border trade with Mexico 19.

One in every five U.S jobs are linked to the exporting and importing process of trade and

17 Government Accountability Office, GAO08219, November 5, 2007, page 7, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GAOREPORTS-GAO08-192T/html/GAOREPORTS-GAO-08-192T.htm 18 Bureau of Transportation Statistics, http://www.bts.gov/data_and_statistics/ 19 U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Steps to a 21st Century U.S.-Mexico Border, 2010, http://www.uschamber.com/reports/steps-21stcentury-us-mexico-border

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Security measures choke the economic flow on the border. Ports of entry all along the border have reported increasing wait times in the past 10 years, from a former norm of about 20 minutes to the current delays up to three hours. These delays discourage tourists, shoppers and workers

from crossing, a situation that leads to a sizable economic loss. According to the Department of United States economy $116 million per minute, 26,000 jobs, $6 billion in output, $1.4 billion

Commerces International Trade Administration, border wait time of an hour (in 2008) cost the in wages and $600 million in tax revenue annually. The cumulative loss in output due to border border are exposed to the health risks of pollution, heat exposure and fatigue.

delays over the next ten years is estimated to be $86 billion.20 In addition, individuals stalled on the

We should invest holistically in economic development at the border: Poverty is still a dim reality

on the border. According to the Census Bureaus Small Area Poverty and Income Estimates for Mexico is 28.3 percent, or twice the national average21. The federal government should address thrive will help the region achieve its economic potential.

2009, the average percentage of those living below the poverty level in the 23 counties that border needs in housing, education, water, environmental issues, not just security. Helping border residents

5. Border residents are treated differently when it comes to rights.


Proponents of callous border security either do not believe that human and civil right are being violated at the border, or they dont care that they are under the theory that immigrants are not everywhere in the United States but the reality is different. entitled to such rights. The truth is that constitutional rights should apply on the border as they do

Rights are for everyone: While it is the purview of nations to make and enforce immigration laws, these laws should not be used as a tool to deny core rights to person, regardless of immigration status. Our common humanity and our common values of justice, freedom, rights, equality and opportunity connect us far more deeply than immigration status.

The border is a de-constitutionalized zone that permits a level of government intrusion into private lives that would be unthinkable elsewhere: The so-called border search exception is an exception to the Fourth Amendment which normally requires that a search or seizure conducted by a

government agent be reasonable and supported by reasonable cause, which the Supreme Court has
20 Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, Improving Economic Outcomes by Reducing Border Delays, 2008, http://shapleigh.org/system/reporting_document/file/487/DRAFT_Reducing_Border_Delays_Findings_and_Options_ vFinal_03252008.pdf 21 U.S. Census, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, http://www.census.gov/did/www/saipe/

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The truth is that constitutional rights should apply on the border as they do everywhere in the United States but the reality is different.
interpreted as meaning a warrant is required22. This means that border agents can search and detain U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens and their properties at the border and in border communities much more freely than police officers and without as much oversight.

Abuses of border residents are a real problem:


an unarmed teenage goat herder named Ezequiel Hernandez was shot and killed by U.S. Marines in Redford, Texas, showing that military tactics are not appropriate for civilian policing. The militarization of the border has led to a tragic episode of excessive force in 1997 when

tion personnel continues unchecked, leading to the death of eight Mexican citizens in the past two years, a 2012 PBS documentary revealed. None has resulted in indictment. One Taser by a group of CBP officers at the San Ysidro port of entry near San Diego.23

A great deal of abuse of power, corruption and misconduct by Custom and Border Protec-

of them was Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas, who died after being beaten and shocked with a

tention including sexual assault and harassment, verbal, psychological and physical abuse

In addition to the deaths, border groups and PBS documented abuses in and out of de-

and torture, denial of water, food and medical care, deliberate overcrowding, separation of

families, dangerous transportation at high speed in rough terrain and dangerous repatriation practices such as sending female deportees back to crime-ridden Mexican cities after dark.

Human rights training and supervision are insufficient: Since 2004, the number of Border Patrol agents along the Southwest border has increased by nearly 85% to more than 17,700 today24.

22 Congressional Research Service, Protecting the U.S. Perimeter: Border Searches Under the Fourth Amendment, June 29, 2009, Yule Kim, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RL31826.pdf 23 PBS, Need to Know: Crossing the Line at the Border, April 20, 2012, Brian Epstein, http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/ security/video-first-look-crossing-the-line/13597/ 24 Department of Homeland Security, http://www.dhs.gov/secure-and-manage-our-borders

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This rapid expansion has been plagued by unsuitable hires, inadequate training, especially when it comes to human rights education, and a reduction in the ratio of supervisors to new agents, border organizations reported.

Abusive agents are unaccountable and rarely prosecuted: In a 2011 report, the Arizona group No More Deaths25 wrote that while the Border Patrol is quick to investigate and sanction agents for their involvement in drug trafficking, human smuggling or other corruption activities, they

rarely address and investigate abuses against migrants. For instance, since January 2010, Arizona organizations have filed more than 75 complaints of Border Patrol abuse with the Department of Homeland Securitys Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and no action has been taken. Instead, officials routinely deny that abuses are taking place. No More Deaths blamed weak indelegation of authority sector chiefs, the use of private contractors and a haphazard complaint process. ternal accountability mechanisms, a culture that resists addressing human rights violations, the

We incarcerate non-criminal immigrants which is inhumane and costly to the taxpayer: CBP

immigration detention facilities or hold rooms are set up like law enforcement facilities illspend an extreme amount of money on the detention of immigrants. According to a report

equipped to deal with women and children and other vulnerable populations. In addition, we by the National Immigration Forum, entitled The Math of Immigration Detention (2011)26, it costs $166 a day per immigrant detainee. There is an expected 33,400 immigrants who will be detained in 2012 and the costs continue to rise. There are other cost effective ways of monitormonitoring or release on ones own recognizance. Taxpayers could save over $1.6 billion a year, migrants and families.

ing the majority of immigrants who are not being convicted for serious crimes, such as electronic an overall 80% reduction in annual costs, and a much more humane way to deal with economic

U.S. citizens can be the victim of abuses on the border: Many U.S. citizens of Hispanic descent

have suffered from abusive treatment and racial profiling by CBP of themselves and their property (such as wrongful detentions and deprivation, and verbal and physical abuse) especially at the ports of entry.27

25 No More Death, A Culture of Cruelty: Abuse and Impunity in Short-term U.S.Border Patrol Custody, 2011, http://www. nomoredeaths.org/cultureofcruelty.html 26 National Immigration Forum, The Math of Immigration Detention, August 2012, http://www.immigrationforum.org/images/ uploads/MathofImmigrationDetention.pdf 27 American Civil Liberties Union, Border Agents Charged With Abusing U.S. Citizens and Non-Citizens Alike, May 10, 2012, http:// www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights/border-agents-charged-abusing-us-citizens-and-non-citizens-alike

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Communities should get involved in keeping border agents accountable:


We should create an independent border enforcement oversight and accountability commis-

sion that would include every sector on the border.

access, oversight, and community engagement in documentation.

We should improve the documentation of rights abuses, requiring a more robust system of

in civil and human rights that would best serve the border communities, including trainresidents. A functional complaint system should be available in all agencies.

All law enforcement, at the local, state and federal levels, should receive the proper training

ing to deter from racial profiling and from violating the human rights against travelers or

munity organizations in discussion with law enforcement agencies and legislators. Integrating NGOs and due process and civil rights protective mechanisms into the enforcement victims of trafficking, refugees and children attempting to cross. processes can help preserve the rights of immigrants, and especially assist in dealing with

We should encourage the participation of border community members, NGOs and com-

We should create an independent border enforcement oversight and accountability commission that would include every sector on the border.
6. Migrant deaths are a preventable disaster.
The notion that deaths of migrants at the border are few and unavoidable is a misconception that prevents us from saving the lives of men, women and children who are, in the great majority of cases, only trying to provide for their families. The reality is that the number of death at the border, from dehydration, exposure, drowning and assault are shockingly high and a direct result from U.S. border enforcement policies.

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Migrants death are significant: While illegal migration to the United States has fallen dramatically in recent years, migrant crossing deaths mostly from dehydration, heat stroke, and drowning remain extremely high. The Border Patrol reported roughly 360 migrant deaths in 201128, but these estimates count only known deaths and do not include those who perish in Mexico. dozens have been murdered in recent months -- before they reach the border.

Not only are border crossers dying at record rates, but many migrants suffer criminal predation

The reality is that the number of death at the border, from dehydration, exposure, drowning and assault are shockingly high and a direct result from U.S. border enforcement policies.
U.S. border enforcement and immigration policies play a large part in migrant deaths: We must recognize that U.S. policy has played a major role in encouraging undocumented immigration States. Economic policy, with treaties such as NAFTA, have displaced agricultural workers in and delays has made it all but impossible for would-be migrants to obtain visas even though

and pushing migrants to take life-threatening risks in the pursuit of a livelihood in the United Mexico, causing them to emigrate to find work. Meanwhile, immigration policy with its quotas there is a demand for workers. And finally, the tightening of border security has pushed migrants farther into the unpatrolled rugged wilderness or into the clutches of smuggling and trafficking networks that prey on them29.

We should push for comprehensive immigration reform: A bill that includes path to citizenship and a worker program to address current and future trends would de-incentivize immigrants from crossing the border illegally.

28 The Arizona Republic, Migrant Deaths in Arizona Fell in 2011, December 29, 2011, Daniel Gonzalez, http://www.azcentral.com/ community/pinal/articles/2011/12/29/20111229arizona-migrant-deaths-arizona-fell-2011.html 29 National Foundation for American Policy, Death at the Border, May 2010, Stuart Anderson, http://www.nfap.com/pdf/0505briefdeath-at-border.pdf

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7. The border is the Ellis Island of our time.


From 1892 to 1954, over 12 million immigrants entered the United States through Ellis Island30, a small island in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. Today, this modest portal is a national monument that receives almost 2 million visitors each year, visitors seeking to learn about the experience of their ancestors and other early immigrants who built America.

The border is the immigration portal of our time. Like Ellis Island, the border should become a place of pilgrimage where all can remember their family histories of crossing over, the struggles of establishing a foot-hold in a new country and the triumph of becoming American. Like Ellis

Island the border should be celebrated as a symbol of hope, hard work and the American Dream.

30 The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., http://www.ellisisland.org/genealogy/ellis_island_history.asp

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Rethinking the U.S.-Mexico Border Region from a Faith Perspective


As people of faith, we view the reality and potential of the US-Mexico border region through the lens of our shared values and beliefs. Our faith impels us to envision a new reality rooted in the strength of our families, religious communities, civic associations, neighborhoods, colonias and cities. We believe that we must act as good stewards of the land we have inherited, must build

on the traditions of hospitality that endure amidst the divisions in our region, and must cultivate the generosity of spirit that defines our communities at their best. We find these qualities in the lawless region. day-to-day life of the border. We do not see them reflected in the reports of a violent, chaotic and

Our values are expansive. We believe in the God-given dignity and equality of all human beings. immigrants based on our own family histories and our religious convictions. We believe that our common humanity connects us far more deeply than immigration status. We think that laws should safeguard the well-being of all of our residents, and should not be used as a tool to deny

We believe in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, particularly those in need. We identify with

core rights to any of us. We decry violence in its many forms as an affront to God and the human person. We support the need to secure our nation from attack and our communities from harm, but we believe that national security starts with human security.

We believe in a nation united not by race, religion or ethnicity, but by a shared commitment to

values like justice, freedom, rights, equality and opportunity. We believe that sovereign states do not create rights, but exist to protect rights and to promote the common good. We respect state citizenship, but we believe more deeply in the Reign of God and citizenship in Gods kingdom.

We believe that the border must serve the good of all of its residents, including new arrivals who particularly the poor and marginalized -- wherever we go.

have fled intense privation and persecution. We know that God crosses borders, accompanying us

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We support the need to secure our nation from attack and our communities from harm, but we believe that national security starts with human security.
The Border We See
The border region contains great political, demographic, religious and cultural diversity. Its residents hold sharply divergent opinions on many issues. These differences can be complicated communities. Before speaking to these challenges, however, we would like to make an obvious point. Despite our differences, many million border residents live cooperatively and peacefully with each other. They attend school, raise children, care for the elderly, comfort the afflicted, work, worship, recreate, socialize, celebrate and mourn together. The border is not primarily a testing ground for national policies, but an extraordinarily rich community that people from countless backgrounds and walks of life call home. It is a region of stark, physical beauty where family and community values thrive amidst intense poverty and artificial barriers; where young passionately attached. people promote a culture of peace in the face of appalling violence; and to which its residents feel by the international character of the region and the way in which national policies play out in its

We believe that the vitality of this region and the needs of its residents receive insufficient overarching characteristics of the border region as we know it.

consideration in the debates and policies that influence its life. We would like to highlight four

First, the border is a community shared by the residents of Mexico, the United States, Native

American nations, and persons of countless nationalities, races and religions. As a result, its deepest aspirations cannot be realized and its most pressing challenges cannot be met in isolation. The 1983 La Paz agreement officially defined the region as the area within 100 kilometers, north

and south, of the international line between the United States and Mexico. The region joins two nations, four US states and six Mexican states, 44 counties (24 contiguous to the international boundary), and 14 pairs of sister cities where more than 90 percent of its residents live.31 Its bi31

http://www.nmsu.edu/~bec/BEC/Readings/10.USMBHC-TheBorderAtAGlance.pdf

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national cities share air sheds, drainage basins, aquifers and ecosystems.32 Its inter-dependence profits and guns head south, fueling the horrific violence in Mexico.33

also manifests itself in less edifying ways, as illicit drugs cross the border heading north, and drug

Second, the border is a case study in the anomalies and paradoxes of a globalized world. Goods,

services, monies, and information flow with relative ease across the border. More than 40 ports-ofthem to enter the United States for short periods to visit family, conduct business, shop, attend school and receive health care. More people cross the US-Mexico border more than 600,000 per day -- than any other border in the world. According to the US Bureau of Transportation

entry connect the two countries. Several million Mexicans possess border crossing cards that allow

Statistics (BTS), 125 million passengers in personal vehicles, 2.7 million bus passengers, 40 million pedestrians, and 4.7 million trucks crossed to the United States from Mexico in 2010.34 In 2011, Mexican exports to United States totaled $263 billion and US exports to Mexico $198 billion, with the great majority coming from the four contiguous US states.35

Hundreds of maquiladoras line the Mexican side of the border. Most are owned and supplied by employing hundreds of thousands of Mexican nationals and large numbers of workers in US stores.

US corporations. They assemble products for sale in the United States and throughout the world, border communities. Mexican workers regularly cross the border to purchase goods in U.S.U.S.

In the globalized world, people will move, must move, and have the right to move to sustain

themselves. Yet hundreds of thousands of Mexicans and others who have been displaced by globalization cannot legally cross borders in order to work. This fact offends the very logic of globalization, as do the substantial government subsidies provided to the U.S. agricultural industry that have made it impossible for small family farms in Mexico to survive. The region has seen significant lay-offs and displacement caused by the global economy, including the departure of many maquiladoras in recent years.

the Levi Strauss plants in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley in the late 1990s, and the closure of

Moreover, globalization particularly in the form of free trade agreements has not meaningfully reduced poverty or inequality in the border region. The region has grown significantly, but remains riven by stark socio-economic divisions. According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics,

the poverty rate in counties along border is twice the national average.36 Low-wage, dangerous
32 http://www.usmcoc.org/b-nafta13.php 33 http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/newsroom/congressional_test/vv_guard.ctt/vv_guard.pdf 34 http://www.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_BC/TBDR_BCQ.html). 35 http://tse.export.gov/TSE/TSEhome.aspx 36 http://cnsnews.com/news/article/average-poverty-rate-twice-high-us-counties-bordering-mexico-rest-us

jobs are endemic. If it were counted as a U.S. state, the border region would rank last in access to

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If it were counted as a U.S. state, the border region would rank last in access to health care; last in per capita income; first in the numbers of impoverished school children; and first in the number of children without health insurance.
health care; last in per capita income; first in the numbers of impoverished school children; and unincorporated communities (colonias) that lack sufficient services and infrastructure. first in the number of children without health insurance.37 The region also contains thousands of

Third, the border region has witnessed an unparalleled expansion in immigration enforcement

over many years. Residents live in what has been characterized as a de-constitutionalized zone that permits a level of government intrusion in their lives that would be unthinkable elsewhere. Federal officials can board and search the vehicles of residents and access their property with scant restrictions. The number of Border Patrol agents has doubled over the last decade and increased more than five-fold in 20 years.38 Persons who illegally enter the country now face criminal

prosecution, not solely deportation. Over the last 15 years, large numbers of long-term residents have been detained and deported, countless families divided, and children separated from their parents. The Supreme Court has upheld, at least tentatively, a provision of Arizonas SB 1070

that affords local police broad authority to enforce federal immigration law, thereby ensuring that

many immigrants will not cooperate with the police. Arizona-like laws seek to deny unauthorized persons the ability to subsist as part of a deportation-by-attrition strategy. The reach and influence of the U.S. immigration enforcement system on border communities can be suggested by the fact the counties that touch the international boundary. that CBPs budget alone rivals in size the general fund (local taxpayer-supported) budgets of all

While illegal migration to the United States has fallen dramatically in recent years, migrant

crossing deaths remain extremely high. The Border Patrol reported roughly 360 migrant deaths in 2011, but these estimates count only known deaths and do not include those who perish in
37 http://www.nmsu.edu/~bec/BEC/Readings/10.USMBHC-TheBorderAtAGlance.pdf 38 http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/180681.pdf; http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/border_security/border_patrol/usbp_ statistics/staffing_92_10.ctt/staffing_92_11.pdf;

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Mexico.39 Not only are border crossers dying at record rates, but many migrants suffer criminal predation dozens have been murdered in recent months -- before they reach the border. possible criminal prosecution if they are apprehended. Migrants who survive this gaunt let must negotiate a summary removal process, detention and

The immigration enforcement build-up has been accompanied by a steady stream of rhetoric

by nativist politicians and media figures on the violence and mayhem in the region. Religious of smugglers and ordinary criminals on both sides of the border, and the way in which strict

communities know from painful experience the immense dangers that migrants face at the hands enforcement policies can exacerbate these threats. At the same time, the rates of violent crime similarly sized cities elsewhere in the country.40

in border communities have fallen precipitously over many years: border cities are far safer than

The Border We Imagine


Prophets denounce and announce. In the prophetic tradition, we denounce the stark inequalities in our communities, the high rates of poverty, the under-investment in children, the abuses against low-wage workers, the shortage of affordable health care, the polluted air and water, and the lack that perpetuate these injustices. We denounce political and economic arrangements that uproot of basic infrastructure. We decry the attitudes of privilege, entitlement, selfishness and indifference people and then prevent them from crossing the border legally in search of work. We denounce the horrific violence and the gross failure of the rule of law in Mexico. We denounce the illicit flow of firearms and drug profits from the United States that inflame this violence.

We denounce the obscenity of border crossing deaths, and the disappearance of this ongoing

tragedy from the U.S. immigration debate and (even worse) from our national consciousness. We consistently and accurately. We denounce abuses against migrants on both sides of the border. We stand with virtually all U.S. faith communities in denouncing immigration policies that

denounce the continued undercounting of deaths and the governments failure to report on them

separate families and that treat hard-working, self-sacrificing people like criminals and security

threats. We believe that the border, as currently structured, does not express Gods will for us as

children of God. We reject state laws that would deny fundamental human rights as a means to a from newcomers, and that underlies the hostility and derision of recently arrived (U.S. citizen) border residents towards long-settled unauthorized residents. We denounce the failures and shortcomings of government policies on both sides of the border.
39 http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/180681.pdf 40 http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011-07-15-border-violence-main_n.htm

dubious end. We decry the historical amnesia and false sense of entitlement that separates natives

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We see a place of pilgrimage where like Ellis Island -- residents and visitors can remember their family histories of crossing over, living as strangers, and struggling for a foot-hold in their new country.
Building on the best traditions in our communities, we also wish to announce a new vision for the border region. We imagine a region that celebrates the shared values embedded in the different newcomers, particularly those fleeing privation and persecution. We envision a region in which cultures and traditions of its residents. We see a place of hospitality, empathy and solidarity with laws and policies reflect the needs, priorities and decisions of community residents. We imagine communities, and that support local, regional, national and bi-national development and antiresidents from their neighbors.

immigration policies that serve the needs of immigrants, their families, and sending and receiving poverty strategies. We see a region in which a misguided sense of patriotism does not separate

We picture a border where virtually all migration is legal, not because the United States and

Mexico cede their authority to regulate admissions, but because immigration laws align with the

labor, family, development and protection needs of residents, visitors and passers-through. We see region in which constitutional rights and protections fully apply to its residents.

a region in which laws safeguard God-given rights and promote the common good. We envision a

We see a region that has maximized its potential as a conduit for tourism, economic development, job creation and trade relations. We hope for a region that has made meaningful progress in addressing its shared environmental, public health, education, and economic challenges. We picture a place in which the benefits of economic globalization are broadly and equitably shared through robust enforcement of environmental and labor standards, living wage laws, and fair trade rules. We envision trade agreements that provide meaningful support to the human beings that they

displace, and that allow them to travel legally across borders in pursuit of employment. We see a well-being of its residents.

region where globalization has been infused with an ethic of solidarity and a commitment to the

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We imagine a border that is no longer characterized by walls, migrant deaths, illegality, human

and drug trafficking, and violence in all of its forms. We see a place of opportunity and encounter. family histories of crossing over, living as strangers, and struggling for a foot-hold in their new country. We imagine a region which, 50 years from today, serves as a symbol of hope for border

We see a place of pilgrimage where like Ellis Island -- residents and visitors can remember their

communities throughout the world. We picture a border that crosses, but does not divide families and communities. We see a border of faith communities converted by their own core values and beliefs. We envision a gathering place for Gods scattered children, where residents and visitors in all their diversity can work together to build the human family. We hope, pray, and vow to work for such a border.

Authored by:
Donald Kerwin, Center for Migration Studies, New York Joanne Welter, Catholic Diocese of Tucson, AZ Rev. John Fife, Presbyterian, Tucson, AZ Worker Ministry Michael Seifert, Equal Voice Network, Rio Grande Valley, TX Hector Rodriguez, Social & Economic Justice Office of the Episcopal Church, National Farm Luzdy Stuckey, Mennonite Central Committee Rabbi Larry Bach, Temple Mt. Sinai, El Paso

Mike Wilson, Tohono Odham Nation, Border Action Network Annie Wilson, Lutheran Immigrant Refugee Services West Cosgrove, Border Network for Human Rights

Endorsed by:
Monsignor Arturo J. Bauelas, El Paso, TX Sr. Rosemary Welsh, Laredo, TX Ruben L. Garcia, Executive Director, Annunciation House, Inc., El Paso, TX Rev. Kelly S. Allen, Pastor, University Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, TX Sharon Altendorf, PBVM, Justice Contact, U.S. Province of Presentation Sisters of the B.V.M., San Antonio, TX Sr. Barbara Sullivan Sr. Corina Padilla OP, Domincan Sisters of Peace, Tucson, AZ Fr. Bill Remmel, SDS, Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Tucson, AZ Jacqueline White Ph.D., RN, Secretary, Corporate Board of Directors Most Holy Trinity Parish, Tucson, AZ Rita Smiling, St. Philips in the Hills Episcopal Church, Tucson, AZ Petra Falcon, Executive Director, Promise Arizona Rev. Julia B. Johnson, St. Phillips in the Hills, Tucson, AZ. Rev. Sean Carroll, SJ, Executive Director, Kino Border Initiative, Nogales, AZ

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Fr. Pat Murphy, CS, Director, Casa del Migrante, Tijuana, Mexico David Hollenbach, S.J., Director, Boston College Center for Human Rights and International Justice Reg McKillip, OP, Sisters of Mercy Institute Justice Team Rev. Mari Castellanos D. Min Justice and Witness Ministries United Church of Christ, Washington D.C. Winifred Doherty, Representative, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, New York, NY Fr. Leonir M. Chiarello, Executive Director, Scalabrini International Migration Network, New York, NY Br. Kevin Cawley, Edmund Rice International, New York, NY Clare Nolan Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Training Facilitator, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, New York, NY Griselda Martinez Morales CSJ, Main Representative, Congregations of Saint Joseph, New York, NY Rev. Rosanna C. Panizo, The Corridor District. Hispanic / Latino Ministries Coordinator, The North Carolina Conference, The United Methodist Church, Durham, NC Rev. Daniel Daro Robayo Hidalgo, Rector, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Harrisonburg, VA Sr. Rose Marie Tresp, Director of Justice, Sisters of Mercy South Central Community, Belmont, NC George Kanuck, Co-Chair Lowcountry Immigration Coalition, Hilton Head / Bluffton, SC George Kanuck, Social Justice Advocate, Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of the Lowcountry, Hilton Head / Bluffton, SC Eric Esquivel, Co-Chair, Lowcountry Immigration Coalition, Hilton Head / Bluffton, SC Sr. Martha Hernandez, Coordinator, Sister of Our Lady of Charity Diane Randall, Executive Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Washington D.C. Barbara Dawson, RSCJ, Provincial, Leadership Team of the Society of the Sacred Heart, United States Province, St. Louis, MO Rosa Hernandez, Our Lady of Charity Steve Pavey Ph.D. Senior Research Scientist, One Horizon Institute, Lexington, KY Catherine Ferguson SNJM, Superior General, Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey, Minister for Partner Relations, Alliance of Baptists Carol Blythe, President Alliance of Baptists Sr. Noelle OShea CSJ Carolyn Jaramillo, The Latin America Caribbean Committee of the Loretto Community Elena Segura, Director, Office of Immigrant Affairs & Immigrant Education, Archdiocese of Chicago, Chicago, IL Fr. Leonardo Rocha, CS, Roman Catholic Priest Margaret Mayce, Representative, Dominican Leadership Conference, New York, NY Charles W. Dahm, OP, Co-Coordinator, Justice and Peace for Dominicans in North America, Chicago, IL Francisco J. Murray, Passionists International Very Rev. Thomas H. Smolich, SJ, President, Jesuit Conference of the United States Rev. Richard Zanotti, CS, Missionaries of St. Charles, Scalabrinians Mary Ellen Gondeck, CSJ, Member, Office of Peace and Justice, Congregation of St. Joseph, Madison Heights, MI Jim Perdue, Coordinator for Immigration and other social concerns, National Plan for Hispanic / Latino Ministry, United Methodist Church Celia Martin, NDS, Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY Celia Deutsch, Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY Sr. M. Roswitha Wanke, RGS, Province Coordinator, Province of Germany / Albania of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Sr. Daniela Kubiak, RGS, Province Leader, Province of Germany / Albania of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Sr. Sally Duffy, SC, President, SC Ministry Foundation Carol Regan, SUSC, Holy Union Sisters

Dina Potter, Short Term Representative, Union of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, U.S. Province, New York, NY Sr. Lois Greene, PBVM, Asst. Congressional Leader, Sisters of the Presentation of Newfoundland and Labrador Judy Mannix, RGS, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands Fr. Ron Oakham, O.Carm, Pastor, St. Cyril of Alexandria Catholic Parish Fr. Vincenzo L. Ronchi, CS, Administrator, R. Catholic Church of St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church, Brooklyn, NY Rev. Josefina Beecher, Episcopal Diocese of Olympia Katherine Salinaro, Deacon, Episcopal Church, Diocese of California John Converset, Director, JPIC Office, Comboni Missionaries, North American Province Rev. Deborah Fox, Chaplain, Episcopal Campus Ministry Raleigh, Raleigh, NC Sr. Anne Curtis RSM, Institute Leadership Team, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Silver Spring, MD Rev. Christine Leigh-Taylor, Rector, St. Clements St. Clements Episcopal Church Church, Rancho Cordova, CA Bill Mefford, Director, Civil and Human Rights, United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society, Washington D.C. Newland F. Smith 3rd, Member, Diocese of Chicago Peace and Justice Committee Fr. Richard J. Aguilar, Episcopal Priest, Unite HERE, local 355, Miami, FL Carol Barton, Executive for Community Action, United Methodist Women Immigrant & Civil Rights Initiative, United Methodist Women, New York, NY Rev. Fred Kammer, SJ, Executive Director, Jesuit Social Research Institute / Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, LA Bro. Brian McLauchlin, SVD, Divine Word Missionaries, Chicago, IL

Organizations Endorsing:
United Methodist Women United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church

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Lessons on community security from the El Paso experience:


A border narrative by a local border law enforcement executive
El Paso is a very unique and diverse West Texas city. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of approximately 650,000. It is the sixth-largest city in Texas and the 19th-largest city in the United States. Its metropolitan area is within El Paso County, whose population in the 2010 census was approximately 800,000.

El Paso stands on the Rio Grande, across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.

The two cities form a combined international metropolitan area, sometimes called Juarez-El Paso, population of 2.3 million, with Juarez accounting for 2/3 of the population. In 2010 El Paso was program in the nation.

with Juarez being the significantly larger of the two in population. Together they have a combined awarded an All-American City Award; this prestigious award is the oldest community recognition

El Paso is home to the University of Texas at El Paso and the Texas Tech University Health

Sciences Center at El Paso. Fort Bliss, one of the largest military complexes of the United States Army, lies to the east and northeast of the city, with training areas extending north into New Alamogordo. Mexico, up to the White Sands Missile Range and neighboring Holloman Air Force Base in

The Border Area in West Texas was a quiet peaceful place back in the 1950s and 1960s. Citizens from both sides frequently crossed the international border to go shopping, eat or drink at restaurants and bars or visit relatives. In the 1970s and 1980s those days were replaced by the hustle and bustle of the maquiladora industry, and there was still frequent daily interaction between U.S. and Mexican Citizens. Unfortunately about this same time the Mexican Drug

Trafficking Organizations began to flourish. In the 1990s and early 2000s these organizations had

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While violence continues to take place in Juarez, El Paso has a different story to tell.
a strong foothold in the area and in late 2006 their greed and egos set the wheels in motion for the war that was to kill over 7,240 Juarez residents in narcotics related executions. The war not only caused devastation in Juarez, Chihuahua (230,000 residents fled, 6,000 businesses closed, interactions between the citizens of both countries.

100,000 abandoned homes) but it also impacted our border society by severely limiting the daily

While violence continues to take place in Juarez, El Paso has a different story to tell. A city of a better place to live, work and play. Citizens trust and respect a Police Department and

law abiding citizens who work hard every day to support their families and make their community Sheriff s Office that are CALEA accredited and support the philosophy of Community Policing. Additionally, because we are a large city on a border with major ports of entry, we are home to many other law enforcement agencies from the U.S. Federal government and the State of Texas. There is a cooperative working relationship between federal, state, county and local law

enforcement agencies in El Paso This is certainly one of the reasons that El Paso has been

recognized as the safest large city (over 500,000 populations) by CQ Press which produces the

Annual Safest City Award. Prior to this recognition, El Paso has been named either the 2nd or 3rd place in Juarez.

safest large city for the last 12 years. Quite an accomplishment given the situation currently taking

There have been significant staffing increases in the Border Patrol, ICE, ATF and other federal agencies and this has clearly had a positive impact on preventing spill-over violence as well as maintaining a sense of security in our community. Of course, there needs to be a clear distinction between criminal issues that fall within the jurisdiction of local and county law enforcement and federal issues such as immigration, that are the sole responsibility of the U.S. Federal Government. Leaders of the U.S. Border Patrol will tell you that the vast majority of undocumented immigrants that come to the U.S. do so because of economic reasons. And, it is clearly understood that the U.S. Federal Government is responsible for securing our national borders and dealing with the

issues of illegal immigration. Recent statistics from Homeland Security show that Border Patrol

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apprehension a key indicator of illegal immigration have decreased 36 percent in the past two years, and are less than half of what they were at their peak.

Prior to the increase in staffing for the Border Patrol, there were calls by some in Congress to have local and county law enforcement officers engage in federal immigration enforcement. This is bad policy for the following reasons:

1. Local and county law enforcement does not have the resources to take on additional responsibilvention and order maintenance. They should not be pulled out of the neighborhoods to have to handle a federal responsibility. Additionally, recent reports indicate that while local and county local revenue and access to federal and state grants), federal agencies have actually maintained staffing levels or seen increases. law enforcement agencies are having to cut back on staffing and equipment (due to loss of both

ities. They belong in the neighborhoods of our communities providing the services of crime pre-

2. Federal immigration law is complex and contains both criminal and civil penalties. Mistakes

are made by those whose sole job is immigration enforcement. Local and county law enforcebecome experts in immigration enforcement.

ment has enough statutes, codes, case law, etc. to learn and apply and should not be expected to

3. If a local or county officer does enforce immigration law and then makes a mistake, who is going to represent the officer in court and who is responsible to pay any settlements or judgments. The local taxpayer should not be burdened with this added expense.

4. Lastly and most importantly, it will undermine the trust and cooperation of immigrant com-

munities. People may be afraid to report crime as a victim or a witness if they fear that police immigrants for this very reason. Also, is the issue of officers stopping people to ask for their

will ask them to prove their citizenship. Criminals have been known to prey on undocumented immigration status. The safety and security of everyone in the city/county is clearly the main rewithout engaging in racial profiling which, by its very nature, is illegally invasive of personal liberties.

sponsibility of local and county law enforcement. This responsibility can and must be discharged

It is unquestionable that federal, state, county and local law enforcement must work together and collaborate to make our communities safe. El Paso is a good example of this collaboration and cooperation resulting in a success achieved by few other large cities.

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We can only build so many fences and pour so much money into hiring federal agents to place along the border.
Where the issue is solely the responsibility of one level of government, those agents are responsible for carrying out their duties. For example, the security of our nations borders and the resulting immigration issues are the responsibility of the federal government and this responsibility is

shared by everyone in our nation, not just by taxpayers that happen to live along the border. Traffic enforcement, on the other hand, is the responsibility of local and county government and as such, is handled by local and county law enforcement.

However, where the issues cross over jurisdictions, such as drugs, human trafficking and smuggling, and certain criminal offenses, we must and do work together. The El Paso County Sheriff s Office Border Patrol on Stonegarden operations. We assist ICE by fingerprinting and identifying bodies from the Juarez violence in order to gain intelligence. And, because of the desolate areas of El these areas, we assist each other on calls to provide for officer safety. is part of the Southwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA). We work with the U.S.

Paso County in which back-up is few and far between for federal and county officials who work in

The El Paso / Juarez metroplex will continue to be a vibrant and dynamic community that will

continue to grow with the certain influx of military and medical industry, among others. Longto immigration and immigration enforcement to prevent inconsistencies in the implementation money into hiring federal agents to place along the border.

term goals related to border security need to be the vision of the U.S. Congress especially in regard of federal programs throughout the nation. We can only build so many fences and pour so much

Long-term goals and objectives of our federal government need to be clear and consistent. The federal governments enforcement efforts are not sustainable given economic realities. As such, needed in order to ensure the prosperity of our country. comprehensive immigration reform with a shared vision of local communities along the border is

Authored by:
El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles

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Two alternative paths to the future:


A vision from border scholars
A concern specific to the academic sector is poor communication of results and analysis of sound scholarly research into public decisions and public opinion formation. For example, the U.S. side of the border has low rates of violence, unlike the Mexican side of the border. However, the U.S. side is often viewed as violent and risky. Bridging this gap between narratives and research be based on realistic understanding of the world as well as thoughtful value choices. informationwhich will take concerted effort on all partsis crucial, since public policies need to Scholars must do a better job of doing policy-relevant research and communicating it to the public. Community-based organizations from the border and elsewhere must create a political climate that allows the reception of realistic knowledge about the border. The media should go beyond superficial, panic-mongering depictions, including seeking out knowledgeable researchers for

information and contextualization. And politicians must take responsibility for seeking, accepting, and broadcasting well-grounded information and analysis. Facts by themselves do not convince people; facts must be supported by a constructive and receptive narrative in the public domain.

The defining characteristics of the border today are threefold.


1. Continental, indeed global scale flows of investment capital, manufacturing, commodity trade, ning for and investment in human communities and the environment. and migration. This has resulted in a high degree of economic dynamism, but low levels of plan-

2. Governmental regulation of flows of people and commodities into both nations, Mexico and the United States. This has been concentrated on policies of police-military control of illegalized flows, in particular immigration and drug law enforcement on entries into the United States. considering the level of criminality and violence in Mexico. As a result of U.S. enforcement-

Law enforcement concerning weapons and money going into Mexico exists, but is underfunded, oriented policies, some of them projected into Mexico, most investments in the border region go

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into enforcement, not civilian development. This is exacerbated by well-documented issues of deaths, promotion of criminal enterprises, and violation of human and constitutional rights. 3. A socio-culturally distinctive regional population, burgeoning in size and importance. The

border region has a long history of interchange between the two countries, resulting in personal linkages, cultural brokerage, bilingualism, and social-economic dynamism and creativity. This is reinforced by the centrality of the border zone to continental and global development, stimulatas risk narrative, and negatively affected by the lack of investment in community needs and environmental justice during a period of poorly planned, rapid expansion.

ing the rapid demographic growth of the region. But it is also neglected in the standard border

Two possible paths face us over the next 50 years.


1. A reduction of the region to opposed classes of government enforcement agencies (and their employIt is likely that this would ultimately negatively affect the climate for global/continental trade ees) and large, capable criminal organizations. This can be termed the police and thieves future. and manufacturing, due to violence and slowed movement of people and goods, and the civilian economy of the region would shrink. The academic sector expressed strong concern about this path of regional development. OR: 2. The emergence of the border region as a primary center for North American development, taking advantage of its bicultural, bilingual, and binational population. This will require investment in its current communities, which have great potential, but lack currently sufficient planning, services, infrastructure, and human development. Global/continental trade and manufacturing will be a main base for this future border, but with more attention to coherent planning and integrated social development. While aware of social and environmental flaws in this path of border economic development, the academic sector still sees this as offering more promising

potentials for integral human development than the police and thieves scenario. Enforcement will shift from mass migration and commodity drug flows toward smaller numbers of high-risk criminals and threats to civilian safety. Border crossing will become easier and less costly for lebenefit, but also other kinds of economic potential in the borderlands, such as small-scale trade binational skill sets.

gitimate visitors, shoppers, traders, and manufacturers. Not only will continental scale commerce (sometimes called globalization from below), that will flourish on the basis of regional bicultural,

The three main general challenges for border development are:


1. Rapid economic growth at relatively low wages. This results in rapid urban population growth, but inexpensive housing or sites to build, resulting in marginal self-built communities). with little or no investment in physical and social infrastructure (e.g., shortage of well-serviced

2. The international border results in very limited binational planning and coordination, despite cross-border linked development and shared issues (such as potential emergencies).

3. The mass migration and drug enforcement policies of the United States, plus clumsy and repressive reduced participation in democracy) and even in some regards economic development (e.g., slowed down and sometime arbitrary border crossing through standard ports of entry).

militarization in Mexico (supported by the United States) have set back social development (e.g.,

The main general opportunity for the border region is that it is very dynamic, with excellent

bilingual, bicultural, and binational human resources. Unlike many areas of entrenched poverty in the United States or Mexico, the region has both the potential economic wealth to tap and outstanding human energy to create a region of integral human development. Investment in

education at all levels, from kindergarten to graduate school, can make a large difference. Utilizing some revenues from economic development to address democratically selected planning goals is essential. An example is the need but also the possibility for coherent water resource planning,

achieving both access and sustainability in this arid to semi-arid region. This sun-drenched region is also well suited for research and implementation of alternative energy technologies. Binational planning will be particularly challenging, because of national institutions and political cultures, but it represents a vital frontier for cutting-edge development. A good example of the need for a truly binational approach to planning, and also a positive vision for border agencies rather than only disasters, hazardous wastes, etc.). restrictive enforcement, is joint preparation for cross-border emergencies (public health, natural

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There are two main challenges in particular in border enforcement.


1. The creeping spread of securitization of societal issues. Securitization refers to treating issues as threats to the very existence of civilian life, as if they are matters of fundamental national secucratic values (accountability, participation, etc.). Some phenomena clearly do threaten civilian rity. It justifies huge investments in police and military resources, and reduced rights and demolives, such as violent criminal organizations, but many issues not of that nature (e.g., labor and the border.

family migration, health effects of substance abuse) have been securitized with negative effects at

We do not hold that there should be no organized border enforcement, but rather that it should start from the principle of reducing the threat of arbitrary physical harm to civilians, both border residents and passing migrants.
2. An inequitable focus on U.S.-driven concerns, migration and drugs (which are then securitized) southbound smuggling of weapons and munitions. More widely, the border is driven by U.S. interior dwellers in Mexico, or even interior dwellers inside the United States. with less focus on Mexican concerns, money going to criminal organizations and especially the interior obsessions, and is not producing greater real security of border dwellers of either nation,

Border enforcement, however, does present genuine and clearly visible opportunities. We do not hold that there should be no organized border enforcement, but rather that it should start from and passing migrants. Border enforcement should focus on high-priority threats of violence; the principle of reducing the threat of arbitrary physical harm to civilians, both border residents

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otherwise, legislation and regulation should be used to address social issues such as migration and drug consumption. Enforcement in the short term should be focused on weakening the money and guns driving criminal organizations. Likewise, enforcement should concentrate on selected topic, since enforcement there makes sense but also threatens to slow down border visiting and trade, but some form of smart enforcement at ports needs to be prioritized over expensive and tactics, and personnel.

individuals and flows, rather than mass arrests and interdictions. Ports of entry are a complicated

unproductive measures such as walls, mass Border Patrol operations, and military technologies,

The border can become the source of a new, more thoughtful, more effective, and more civiliansafety oriented policing approach for the entire North American continent.

A combination of factors could bring about a realization of our vision of the border
As we have said, the academic sector can and should provide excellent scientific and humanistic research and analysis. But this can only have an effective in combination with mass democratic participation by border residents, especially through community organizations, in conjunction

with border politicians who are leader-servants. Likewise, key actors from the private sector need to step forward and lead in favor of what we called Path 2 above, the border as dynamic civilian economy.

Specifically, border community organizations need to gain voice and position--not only along the border but also in national narratives--to hold agencies in both nations of all types (and especially police and military agencies) accountable to the public. Practices of democratic participation need to be cultivated inside and between the two nations, not just by voting but by constant community education and consultation; politicians and businesspeople need to cultivate this participation rather than avoiding it. Democratic participation requires, of course, respecting the rights of

individuals and minority groups. Democratic participation needs to be conducted consistently

in a bilingual and bicultural fashion, befitting the regional population. State agencies need to be respectful of the public and its dignity and rights while at the same time being effective at their knowledge and voice. The border should become a demonstration region for a new deepening United States and the newly democratizing public of Mexico. jobs; change in bureaucracies and upper leadership takes place when they face a strong public with of active democracy in both nations, and in particular for the growing Latin@ population of the

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Underlying values and principles that shape our vision for the border
This can be divided into general (non-border specific, but border-applicable) values and specific border values. The general values of course deserve a lengthy discussion, but briefly can be categorized in three parts:

1. Rights, drawing on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and on constitutional rights in 2. Capabilities, a concept developed by Amartya Sen to encompass the resources needed to exercise genuine freedom of action (thus, income, education, health care, nutrition, and so forth); and the United States and Mexico;

3. Dignity, the quality of mutual and equitable respect among persons of all backgrounds. Each

of these presents serious challenges and opportunities when applied at the border. The border

enforcement process, for example, often impinges seriously on rights. Marginalized households and communities on both sides of the border have serious deficits in terms of capabilities, such as public utilities and services. And the stigmatization of Mexican origin people, and border these values also represents a positive vision for how we can seek to fulfill our values.

people more generally, injures their dignity in painful ways. Yet each critical statement based on

Importantly, the academic sectorboth as scholars and as long-time border residentsgave particular value to positive vision of border life. Border life is a rich tapestry of personal relationships, geographic visits, cultural exchanges, linguistic interaction, and so forth. Borders

offer a special place to combine ordinarily separate nations and societies/cultures. This is a special source of creativity and future potential. The increased securitization of the border undercuts the

This is a special source of creativity and future potential. The increased securitization of the border undercuts the conditions for this special value of the border.
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conditions for this special value of the border. But the positive future of the border outlined above as Path 2 builds on this quality of the border as a distinct and important asset.

How to measure success when it comes to border operations


For rights, we see the documentation of rights violations as essential, including deaths and other physical and legal harms. This requires a more robust system of access, oversight, and community engagement in documentation. Success would be accountability for rights violations, well-documented reductions in them, and sustainable approaches to systematically reduce their occurrence.

For capabilities, there is a well-developed human quality of life index applied specifically to the This can be used to track improvement in border quality of life. In particular, there needs to be

border in Joan Anderson and James Gerber, Fifty Years of Change on the U.S.-Mexico Border. improvement across social classes and in both nations, not just in overall averagesand this can be

tracked using the methods in Anderson and Gerber. A specific capability, security against arbitrary violenceobjectively and subjectively experienceddone by both state and non-state actors, needs to be tracked independently of biased agendas of securitization by the two nation-states (this obviously overlaps with the discussion of rights measures just above).

For dignity, we need sensitive but objective scholarship on the quality of everyday interactions, especially across social lines, both across the border (between Mexicans and Northamericans) and within each country. We need to examine also the dignified portrayal of the border region consider it important and worth developing.

throughout both nations. While dignity is the least well developed area of measures of success, we

In response to the first question, we outlined two possible futures. For the securitization-based

first path, which we would not consider a success, we can measure the percentage of police and military and criminal organization expenditures, employment, etc., as a proportion of the entire border region economyin other words, are we seeing a trend toward a regional society made of police and thieves. The rights and security measures described just above are also sensitive indicators of this path.

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The other path, that builds on the binational-bicultural-bilingual character of the border, can be in North America, in social, cultural, political, and economic terms (note: economic growth is important but cannot be the sole measure of this path). We expect positive developments in

measured by looking for evidence of this region as a dynamic source of innovation and leadership

measures of capabilities and dignity to be associated with the unfolding of this path. Internal

to the region, we can measure integration of economic growth into balanced, cohesive, planned coordination across a variety of domains.

development, both within and across nations, and evidence of greater binational cooperation and

Authored by:
Josiah Heyman, University of Texas at El Paso

Endorsed by:

Robert R. Alvarez, University of California, San Diego Howard Campbell, University of Texas at El Paso Ernesto Castaeda, University of Texas at El Paso Leo Chavez, University of California, Irvine Susan Bibler Coutin, University of California, Irvine Miguel Diazbarriga, University of Texas Panamerican Margaret E Dorsey, University of Texas Panamerican Roxanne Doty, Arizona State University Merrill Eisenberg, University of Arizona (retired) Julie A. Murphy Erfani, Arizona State University Iigo Garca-Bryce, New Mexico State University Neil Harvey, New Mexico State University Josiah Heyman, University of Texas at El Paso Yolanda Leyva, University of Texas at El Paso Mark Lusk, University of Texas at El Paso Cecilia Menjivar, Arizona State University Raymond J. Michalowski, Northern Arizona University Maria Cristina Morales, University of Texas at El Paso Eva Moya, University of Texas at El Paso Aurelia Lorena Murga, University of Texas at El Paso Guillermina Gina Nez-Mchiri, University of Texas at El Paso Anna Ochoa OLeary, University of Arizona Tony Payan, University of Texas at El Paso Luis F.B. Plascencia, Arizona State University Doris Marie Provine, Arizona State University Nestor P. Rodriguez, University of Texas at Austin Mary Romero, Arizona State University Raquel Rubio Goldsmith, University of Arizona Rogelio Saenz, University of Texas at San Antonio Jeffrey P. Shepherd, University of Texas at El Paso Richard J. Schaefer, University of New Mexico David Spener, Trinity University (Texas) Kathleen Staudt, University of Texas at El Paso Susan Tiano, University of New Mexico Marcela Vsquez-Len, University of Arizona

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Changing Discourse:
the local government perspective on issues facing the United States International Border
U.S. International Border: Brief Facts
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the length of the International Boundary line of the U.S.-Canadian border, excluding Alaska, is approximately 3,987 miles, while the length of the U.S.-Mexican border is estimated at 1,933 miles. The length of the Alaska-Canada border alone is 1,538 miles. The tables below list the 13 U.S. states that share international boundaries with the International Boundary Commission and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Canada and the four states that share an international border with Mexico, with information from

Length of U.S.-Mexico Land and Water Boundary by State


State Texas Arizona New Mexico California Total Border Length 1,241.00 372.5 179.5 140.4 1,933.40

Source: U.S. Geological Survey the Congressional Research Service Report to Congress entitled U.S. International Border: Brief Facts.41

Introduction
Developing a local voice in all cross-border relations is essential to maximizing our objective of creating a network of positive exchange. For so many, the borders are unknown and feared. Our work will help to transform old border policies and myths into new and better policies that will promote unification and understanding; there is no shortage of creative possibilities in this
41 CRS Report for Congress: U.S. International Borders: Brief Facts: Janice Cheryl Beaver: November 9, 2006 http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/ misc/RS21729.pdf

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Not many understand the realities of living in a border community. It is by living on the border or spending an extended period of time that one can truly appreciate its many unique opportunities and challenges.
work. This New Border Narrative concentrates on putting together varying local government perspectives from both the southern and northern borders surrounding the U.S.

The border region is greatly defined by our relationship to our sister cities in Mexico and Canada. spending an extended period of time that one can truly appreciate its many unique opportunities and challenges. Though we are three separate countries, in many ways we are able to function as

Not many understand the realities of living in a border community. It is by living on the border or

unified partners. We are linked together economically and socially with many communities sharing similar cultures and traditions. What is beneficial for our sister cities, is also beneficial to us in the United States. A connection has been made that has tied us together without any notice of an actual border meant to divide communities.

According to Texas Borderlands: Frontier of the Future (2009) the border region has been

struggling to keep up with the rest of the United States. For example, border communities tend to have a population whose education level suffers. Most of the populations who are under educated have not yet mastered English and also continue to be the poorest areas in the country with many rank last in per capita personal income. Border counties have historically also had some of the nations highest unemployment rates.42

The U.S-Mexico border region consists of 44 counties and 80 municipalities, and 15 pairs of sister cities among 4 U.S. states. According to A Blueprint for Action on the Border (2010), 24 of the U.S. counties were studied as if it were its own state.43 As a whole, the border region ranked 40th
42 Texas Borderlands: Frontier of the Future. State Senator Eliot Shapleigh. 2009. http://www.epcc.edu/AboutEPCC/Documents/Texas_ Borderlands.pdf 43 A Blueprint for Action on the U.S.-Mexico Border. Thirteenth report of the good neighbor Environmental board to the president and congress of the United States. GNEB. June 2010.

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in per capita income, 5th in unemployment, 7th in diabetes, 50th in insurance coverage, and 50th in high school completion rates and lower than average in personal incomes per capita.

In 50 years, we envision a border community that is thriving economically through border trade

and commerce. We envision a more effective system of border management that will create a faster and smoother flow of people and goods between the United States and Mexico than the current scenario we are dealing with now. It is important to enhance the security at our current ports of of positive change at the border, but only if we are successful in preventing the mounting militarization which would sacrifice our communities for an illusion of security.

entry, while respecting those who are trying to cross. In 50 years, we should demand a renaissance

Most importantly, we envision a border community that is no longer misunderstood as violent

and destructive. Policy makers who are unfamiliar with the border region do not understand the potential and unique opportunities that our borders hold. Some see it as relevant to link illegal crime rates than do non border communities. For those of us who live in border communities, synchronization with our sister cities. immigrants with high crime rates, but state level data shows that border communities have lower we understand that the most efficient way for our communities to prosper is to work in peaceful

Economic Development Through Trade And Commerce


Commerce:
Since the passing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Mexico has been closely trailing behind Canada and China in the foreign import/export market. According to

the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Border Report (2010), Mexico has become the third largest U.S

trading partner and is the second largest export market for U.S businesses. Mexico is now the top

choice of 22 states that depend on their export market. The report indicates that $1 billion of cross border commerce is taking place every day; this translates to $45 million an hour. In 2010, Mexico purchased $163 billion in U.S goods and also serves as our largest provider of petroleum and the products are carried across the border by truck. largest foreign supplier of fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables with eighty percent of most

Canada and the United States enjoy one of the most prosperous relationships in the world with According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, in 2010, $645 billion worth of goods and

approximately 11 million jobs on both sides of the border depending on bilateral trade agreements.

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services crossed the U.S./Canadian border. It is estimated that approximately a third of this trade is the delivery of materials to build certain products.44

Ports of Entry:
The greatest advantage of living in a border town is our unique ability to prosper economically through cross border trade and commerce. El Paso, Texas for example is dubbed as the largest bi-national metroplex in the world and as has the greatest potential of being one of the most significant and vital gateways into the United States. Though having the greatest potential

economically, El Pasos Ports of Entry have not kept pace with the rapid increase of cross border in Imperial County, the Port of Entry into Calexico, California has been scheduled for new

commerce. Many land ports along the Mexico border region are suffering as well. For example, infrastructure over the last three fiscal years yet no changes have been made to date. Elected

officials across the border region are struggling to have their voice heard. Our gateways have turned into parking lots. Potential consumers, visitors, and American citizens coming into the United States suffer as they wait to cross into our country. Aside from the long wait times, individuals stalled on the border are exposed to breathing in the excess pollution due to the overwhelming are inhumane to say the least.

volume of vehicles entering the United States. Along with motorized crossing, pedestrian waits

While billions of dollars are being spent on a useless border wall, there have been no improvements on our Ports of Entry, where revenue can be generated.
While billions of dollars are being spent on a useless border wall, there have been no improvements on our Ports of Entry, where revenue can be generated. In the last 10 years, the average wait time for passenger vehicles to cross the international bridges in El Paso, TX have jumped from an average of 20 minutes at peak periods to two hours or longer. According to the Canada Border Services Agency (2011), border wait times are not as prevalent as those found along the U.S./ Mexico. Wait times along the northern border range from 0 to 20 minutes.45

44 The Joint Canadian Chamber of Commerce U.S. Chamber of Commerce Submission to the Beyond the Border Working Group. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 2010 http://www.chamber.ca/images/uploads/Reports/2011/CCC-USCC_BBWG_ Submission_110602.pdf 45 Canada Border Services Agency http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/bwt-taf/menu-eng.html

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There are 52 in all, of which 8 are rail lines, 43 are roadways (24 bridges, 2 dams, and 17 roads), and 1 is a ferry. El Paso, Texas has four international ports of entry with Mexico. Other nearby ports of entries are located in Tornillo, Texas and Santa Teresa, New Mexico. In the year 2010, an estimated $71.1 billion in trade value moved through our El Paso Ports of Entry. This represents 18% of the total trade value between the United States and Mexico. There was a 50% increase in trade value compared to 2009 and is expected to be even higher in 2012 (Plan El Paso, 2012).46 The Border area is highly dependent on cross-border business and without the sufficient

technology and improvement at the Border crossings; we are averaging a loss of $116 million

dollars per minute of delay. According to the Department of Commerces International Trade

Administration (2008), these delays cost the United States economy nearly 26,000 jobs and $6 of Commerce further estimates that by 2017, average wait times will probably increase to 100 and 1.2 billion lost in tax revenue annually.

billion in output; $1.4 billion in wages and $600 million in tax revenue annually.47 The Department minutes or more costing the U.S. more than 54,000 jobs, 12 billion in output, 3 billion in wages

A recent port of entry study commissioned by TxDOT for El Paso Ports (2011), shows that at

peak periods during the business day, our ports of entry are at operational failure, meaning there and wait times in 2035 will contract El Pasos economy by $54 billion (or 21.8% of regional

is at least a two-hour wait time.48 According to the study, if we do nothing, forecasted congestion economic activity) and could cause a net job loss of about 850,000 or 17.4 percent. That means

our region would be less competitive and less able to contribute to the state and national economy. Not only do congested ports batter our economy, they also endanger our physical and commercial health. When you have traffic idling for two to three hours, that poses a huge risk to people and goods safely and efficiently.

cargo. It is in the countrys and the states best interest to have ports of entry that move people and

Border Infrastructure/Manufacturing:
Mexico is now competing against China in manufacturing and trade. We need to seize this opportunity by investing in better technology at border crossings. By using new detection the way we do business. technologies and risk management strategies we can improve border security, while also improving

El Paso County, for example, has partnered with their Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to access Federal Highway Administration funds for a Southwest Border Trade
46 Plan El Paso: A Policy Guide for the next 25 years and beyond. City of El Paso, Texas Comprehensive Plan. 6 March 2012. http:// www.planelpaso.org/ 47 Department of Commerces International Trade Administration (2008) http://shapleigh.org/system/reporting_document/file/487/ DRAFT_Reducing_Border_Delays_Findings_and_Options_vFinal_03252008.pdf Improving Economic Outcomes by Reducing Border Delays 48 Economic Role of the El Paso Border Crossings. Texas Department of Transportation. Cambridge Systematics, Inc. Feb 2011.

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By using new detection technologies and risk management strategies we can improve border security, while also improving the way we do business.
Demonstration Project (SBTDP) that will use the latest technology to track trucks coming across our ports of entry. Its a solution that, if successful, will help ease the congestion and help create smarter, more secure and efficient ports of entry that keep people and goods moving. We need and trucks sit idle for hours, polluting our air and harming our economy.

more solutions like this for our ports of entry so that they are not complete bottlenecks where cars

It is essential that our Ports of Entry are adequately staffed and more inspection officers are

provided in order to prevent them from being overworked. More lanes will be able to open, security at the border will also be heightened given in increase in officers and vigilance.

allowing for a greater flow of cross border tourism and commerce. With adequate staffing our

Corporations are now realizing that it is more cost effective to do business with markets that are our economy by bringing back more job opportunities that were lost due to doing business with

closer to home. Strengthening our relationship with Mexico and Canada will help contribute to countries overseas. One in every five U.S jobs are linked to the exporting and importing process one million American jobs are sustained due to doing cross border trade with Mexico.

of trade and commerce. According to Steps to a 21st Century U.S. Mexico Border (2010) thirty-

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Compelling Facts about the U.S.-Mexico Economic Partnership


U.S. exports reach 233 destinations worldwide, but NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada account for nearly one-third of the total.

Mexico and the United States trade more than $1 billion worth of goods each day ($397 billion in 2010).

Mexico spent $163 billion on U.S. goods in 2010, including $14 billion on agricultural products. NAFTA-related trade with Mexico has added 1.7 million jobs to the U.S. economy. Twenty-six U.S. states had exports to Mexico in excess of $1 billion in 2010. Twenty-two states count Mexico as the No. 1 or No. 2 export market; Mexico is a top-five market for 14 more.

The United States provides up to 50% of all inputs for Mexicos maquiladora manufacturing and assembly firms, which translates to more than $41 billion in annual sales.

Mexico is a key source of healthy, counter seasonal fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, melons, and peppers for supermarkets and restaurants nationwide.

Nearly 50,000 small and medium-size U.S. businesses export to Mexico, collectively selling $41 billion in goods to Mexico.

For U.S. farmers and ranchers, Mexico is the top export destination for dozens of key products, including beef, rice, soybean meal, sugars and sweeteners, and apples.

*Taken from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Border Report: Steps to a 21st Century U.S./Mexico Border, 2011. 49

49 Steps to a 21st Century U.S. Mexico Border. 2010. U.S. Chamber of Commerce. http://www.uschamber.com/sites/

default/files/reports/2011_us_mexico_report.pdf

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2011: U.S. Trade In Goods With Mexico


NOTE: All figures are in millions of U.S. dollars on a nominal basis, not seasonally adjusted unless otherwise specified. Details may not equal totals due to rounding. Month January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 TOTAL 2011 Exports 14,846.9 14,025.2 17,322.5 16,024.4 16,843.0 16,595.4 16,052.1 17,708.6 17,064.0 17,621.5 17,912.9 16,361.1 198,377.6 Imports 19,606.4 19,053.6 23,269.5 21,359.7 22,970.2 22,714.3 21,090.8 23,152.4 22,302.3 22,848.1 23,146.4 21,350.7 262,864.4 Balance -4,759.5 -5,028.4 -5,947.1 -5,335.3 -6,127.2 -6,118.9 -5,038.7 -5,443.8 -5,238.3 -5,226.6 -5,233.5 -4,989.6 -64,486.9

2011: U.S. Trade In Goods With Canada


NOTE: All figures are in millions of U.S. dollars on a nominal basis, not seasonally adjusted unless otherwise specified. Details may not equal totals due to rounding. Month January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 TOTAL 2011 50 | Border Network for Human Rights Exports 20,644.1 20,493.4 25,657.1 23,799.1 24,452.6 24,258.5 22,228.5 24,959.8 23,958.0 24,539.3 23,240.1 22,659.1 280,889.6 Imports 24,792.9 23,215.4 28,305.7 25,936.4 26,965.3 26,857.5 25,446.5 27,146.6 27,235.0 26,725.1 26,172.3 26,547.8 315,346.5 Balance -4,148.8 -2,722.0 -2,648.6 -2,137.3 -2,512.7 -2,598.9 -3,217.9 -2,186.8 -3,277.1 -2,185.9 -2,932.1 -3,888.8 -34,456.9

Border Security & Immigration


We are constantly looking for ways to improve our border enforcement policies, but some of the reality of living in a border area. challenges that our border region faces involves working with policy makers who do not grasp the

Living along the border area, it seems as if we were at war with Mexico even though we share

many economic partnerships. Immigration policies have made the border region into a militarized zone. The construction of the border wall has had a demoralizing and destructive impact on the border region. Communities have been split apart. There is a feeling of indifference in the border region when determining the best way to improve border security. The border wall built in many neighborhoods along the United States/Mexico border has further divided our communities and not proven to be an effective method by which to secure the border.

Immigration policies have made the border region into a militarized zone.
The border wall encompasses over 600 miles of the border region has proven to be a waste of tax dollars that could have been spent more wisely. According to a report by the Government U.S. Southwest and Northern Borders (2011) a total of $2.4 billion dollars has been spent in

Accountability Office entitled Border Security: DHS Progress and Challenges in Securing the constructing the border wall which has failed to prevent people from entering the United States

illegally.50 Illegal immigrants find other ways of entering the United States. For example, tunnels will take an additional $6.5 billion dollars to maintain the border wall over the next 20 years. In 2010, there were 4,037 documented and repaired breaches that cost the tax payers an extra $7.2 $16.1 billion dollars.

are now being created underground and are now being used to cross over into the United States. It

million dollars ($1,800 per breach). In total, the expense of the border wall is estimated at a sum of

Governor Rick Perrys Virtual Border Surveillance Program has also been proven ineffective. In a report produced by Brandi Grissom, a reporter for the Texas Tribune (2010) the goal of the program was to install 200 cameras along the Border Wall to help aid in at least an approximate

1,200 arrests. In reality, only 29 cameras have been installed and only 26 arrests have been made.
50 Government Accountability Office. Border Security: DHS Progress and Challenges in Securing the U.S. Southwest and Northern Borders. 30 March 2011. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-508T

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A total of $4 million dollars has been spent in support of the Virtual Border Surveillance Program at a cost of $153,800 per arrest.51 We need to start making intelligent decisions when it comes to deciding what it best for not only our Border cities, but for our Nation as a whole.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform


Rather than placing our attention on the arrest and detainment of undocumented nationals from Mexico, greater focus needs to be concentrated on drug trafficking and capturing dangerous criminals who are trying to cross into the United States. We spend an extreme amount of money

on the detention of immigrants. We are pouring billions of dollars to detain immigrants who cross into the United States solely looking to better their quality of life. They are not criminals and they do not pose any danger to our community. At least 85% of undocumented immigrants caught have no criminal record whatsoever and are driven to make the dangerous crossing in search of

employment and a better life in this country. That means that a maximum of only 15% of them after and detaining economic migrants.

are criminals, broadly defined. This also means that 85% of our resources are being spent chasing

85% of our resources are being spent chasing after and detaining economic migrants. We would save billions of dollars if we encourage them to stay rather than have them removed.
We would save billions of dollars if we encourage them to stay rather than have them removed. The 2012 budget request to detain an immigrant is currently at $2 billion, this is $5.5 million a Detention (2011), it costs $166 a day per immigrant detainee. There is an expected 33,400 day. According to a report by the National Immigration Forum, titled The Math of Immigration immigrants who will be detained in 2012 and the costs continue to rise. When the numbers are monitoring the majority of immigrants.

compared, there was a $254 million increase since FY 2010.52 There are other cost effective ways of

51 The Texas Tribune. Border Cameras Produce Little in Two Years. Brandi Grissom. 20 April 2010. http://www.texastribune.org/ texas-mexico-border-news/border-cameras/border-cameras-produce-little-in-two-years 52 National Immigration Forum, August 2011, The Math of Immigration Detention: The Runaway Cost for Immigration Detention Do Not Add Up to Sensible Policy. http://www.immigrationforum.org/images/uploads/MathofImmigrationDetention.pdf

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The wiser alternative would be to monitor the detained population who do not pose a threat to the community and only detain those that are being convicted for serious crimes. It would cost as low as 30 cents to $14 dollars a day to only hold those individuals who are a threat to the community, taxpayers could save over $1.6 billion a year. This would be an overall 80% reduction in annual and that are not wasting money.

costs. More attention needs to be focused on creating alternate solutions that actually make sense

If we finally had comprehensive immigration reform that took into consideration the vast number of non-criminal migrants and created an approach that focused on the criminal element crossing the border, we could re-direct some of that funding to promoting true border security.

Drug Trafficking
The border wall has had little effect on illegal drug trafficking, most illegal drugs are being transported through our Ports of Entry. Tunnels are not only being used for the crossing of

immigrants, but are also being used to smuggle in illegal drugs. In El Paso, the discovery of

tunnels are rare though, due to the concrete channels of the Rio Grande; making it harder to

cross underground. Let us not forget that there is also a flow of trafficking being transported into Mexico from the United States. Massive amounts of money and weapons are being transported back into Mexico. According to a report entitled Beyond the Border Buildup (2010) during 2005

and 2010, we have seen an increase of the flow of drugs into the border region. The border seizures by 297%, and MDMA (ecstasy) has increased by 839%. The reason why drug cartels are careful of income. If we were to close down our Ports of Entry drug cartels will suffer economically.

of marijuana have increased by 49%, methamphetamine has increased by 54%, heroin has increased not to let the eruption of violence spill into the United States because we are their primary source Despite the United States looking to aid Mexico via projects such as the Merida Initiative, many local U.S. communities have been left with little funding opportunities to combat the realities of being a border community.

Policy makers in Mexico and the United States have not been well coordinated. Many

disconnected efforts have been made. The solutions to our problems have continuously been to

hike up security budgets; this has not helped with our problems. Rather than spending our energy prosecuting immigrants for serious crimes such as gun and drug trafficking, more energy is spent on misdemeanors on illegal entry cases. More and more dangerous crimes are being left to state and county officials, but local law enforcement does not have the finances to handle this federal responsibility.

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Rather than spending our energy prosecuting immigrants for serious crimes such as gun and drug trafficking, more energy is spent on misdemeanors on illegal entry cases.
Local Law Enforcement
The continued discussion in the local government sector is the debate on ant-immigrant legislation. Elected officials are opposed to having a similar immigration law such as the one in

Arizona be passed in other communities. The anti immigration law in Arizona makes being in the country illegally a state crime. Local communities cannot afford to handle the responsibilities of the Federal government. Many local communities are suffering given the economic recession. To enforcement officers is unwarranted and fiscally irresponsible.

place additional, an unfunded mandate, such as local law enforcement serving as de facto federal law

If this law were to be passed in Texas, more officers would need to be hired through the Sheriff

and Police Departments and all new and current officers would need to be trained according to immigration status of detainees held in the County Jail.

the immigration policies. Currently, the federal agency already has the authority to question the

A majority of representatives in El Paso County are in favor for House Bill 12, which would

restrict cities, counties, and school districts from enforcing immigration laws. There are still antisanctuary bills being taken into consideration that would deny state funding to any governing entity that prohibits local law enforcement from doing immigration checks. It is important for

our local law enforcement to maintain the mutual trust that has been built between officers and

their community. With this trust and respect comes cooperation from the community that offers law enforcement agencies to a reliable source of information that will help to protect the border enforcement. Border enforcement agencies need to put more focus on capturing dangerous energy on the common immigrant who is only looking for work. area. Local enforcement agencies should not assume the duties or the role of federal immigration criminals and traffickers who are trying to cross into the border, rather than placing so much

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Along with the population growth, the U.S. Mexico border region has also experienced an increase of agents in the Border Patrol agency. The problem with this rapid increase is that many times Border Patrol agents do not receiving the proper training in civil and human rights that would best serve the border communities. While improving our border security and our infrastructure, we also need to consider the importance of the relationship that agents have with our community. Agents need to be trained to deter from racial profiling and from violating the human rights against travelers or residents. A better system of filing complaints against agents who are not respecting Customs and Border Protection policies need to be held accountable.

Assistance from State and Federal Government to Secure Local Border Communities
The federal government has been aware of the costs associated with the challenges facing communities on the border and the burden carried by local property tax payers. Programs such

as the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) and High Intensity Drug Trafficking dollars to our law enforcement personnel. However, according to the El Paso County Sheriff s Office, HIDTA funds have remained relatively stable since the programs inception over 10

Area (HIDTA) funds are important for helping safeguard our communities and provide additional

years ago. Meanwhile, salaries, benefits and equipment costs have all increased over time leaving communities having to scale back operations or fund increases on the backs of local property taxpayers. SCAAP funds are also very much appreciated but only cover a small portion (10-15%) of the costs of housing these offenders. And, unfortunately, in the 2012 federal budget, SCAAP funds are being reduced by 60%, which would mean yet another increased burden on the local property tax payers.

Federal grants offer a supplement to local communities, but they can be inflexible. For example, communities is very much needed. For communities, such as El Paso, TX which 1,060 square miles, 47 miles of which is adjacent to our international border.

the 2010 Operation Stonegarden grant did not allow for the purchase of vehicles, which for some

We need help with investments that supplement our ability to recruit and hire more officers. The COPS grants have poured money into Texas but the El Paso County Sheriff s Office has been passed over for two years. The El Paso Police Department likewise has been ignored. Meanwhile cities like San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Austin have received funding for as many as 50 new overtime our officers are getting burned out. officers. Sheriff s departments need boots on the ground and while receiving funding to pay for

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When the war between cartels began to reach a critical level in Ciudad Jurez, El Paso saw a

pattern emerge that we never predicted and hasnt stopped. Our county hospital district, which

houses the only Level 1 trauma center in our regionthe next closest center is 275 miles away Since 2008, the El Paso County Hospital District spent $4.9 million in trauma care specifically for these victims; to date, weve been compensated for only $1.2 million, leaving local property taxpayers to pick up $3.7 million in uncompensated costs. Communities such as El Paso have

began seeing victims of the violence who were rushed through our ports of entry and into our ER.

repeatedly requested funding from the Merida initiative to help off-set the costs borne by local changes its drug policies or the cartels suddenly declare a cease fire.

property taxpayers because we just dont see that financial burden diminishing unless the U.S.

Misrepresentation Of The Border


The eruption of violence in Mexico has taken its toll on the entire border community causing the world to target our border region as dangerous war zones. For instance, since the outbreak of violence in 2006, El Pasos sister city in Texas, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico has become of the most who have recklessly stated that El Paso is an unsafe city. This is simply not true; in fact, while safest city with a population over 500,000 in the United States with the lowest crime rate.

dangerous cities in the world. Since then, El Paso has been denounced publicly by policy makers Ciudad Juarez has had the highest homicide rates, El Paso has consistently been ranked the top

This in no way can compare to Houston, Texas, which was ranked one of the most dangerous cities in the United States due to their extremely high crime rate. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation our four border states are even becoming safer. According to a report entitled

Beyond the Border Buildup (2012) between 2005 and 2010, the violent crime rates have dropped by 11% and homicides have dropped by 19%.53 Counties along the border have lower crime and robbery rates compared to other state averages. This proves that border communities are just as

safe as any other community in the United States. For example, in Presidio County, communities have not been affected by the border wall. Outsiders would be surprised to see how peaceful it is in their area. With the proper identification, citizens and visitors are able to freely cross back and been affected by the violence in Mexico.

forth into the United States. The reality is that border communities such as El Paso, Texas have not

Yet, this has not stopped elected officials such as Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas from

announcing to the media in a speech, Youve got bombs exploding in El Paso. This incident that he is referring to took place in Ciudad Juarez. Media and news networks who are not familiar

53 Isacson, Adam. Meyer, Maureen. Beyond the Border Buildup: Security and Migrants along U.S. Mexico Border. Washington Office on Latin America. April 2012.

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with the border region have also been contributing to the negative comments being made. Every time someone on the state-wide or national stage makes erroneous statements about us, it costs us a convention, or talent that doesnt want to relocate to our community, or business expansion

and retention opportunities. Its not good for El Paso, its not good for Texas, its not good for the nation. And it doesnt make us more safe. Perceptions such as these are destructively impacting the border region by discouraging potential travelers from visiting our communities, which then affects prospects to create tourism revenue. While, we are working hard to encourage tourism in the border regions reputation.

potential cities such as El Paso, there are those who are straining the efforts being taken to improve

Conclusion
Our border communities should be seen as bi-national metropolitan districts where we take every to encourage positive community participation. Initiatives need to be taken to secure our Ports of Entry and increase Border Security, while maintaining respect for those who are only looking for opportunity for developing transactions of positive cross border exchange. We should work harder

a better quality of life. Our Ports of Entries have the potential to become world class Gateways to border tourism and commerce. There are so many great possibilities for the future, but we have to act now in order to make a change.

Authored by:
County Judge Veronica Escobar, County of El Paso, Texas County Judge Paul Hunt, County of Presidio, Texas Supervisor Manny Ruiz, County of Santa Cruz, Arizona

Supervisor Raymond Castillo, County of Imperial, California Supervisor John Renison, County of Imperial, California County Council Member Barbara Brenner, Whatcom County, Washington

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Border Network for Human Rights

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