Thursday, March 23, 2006

Arizona Rallies - Friday 3/24/06

Press Release

As immigration debate in D.C. hits boiling point, AZ communities lead national call for reform solutions

Local groups join nation-wide mobilization, carry message to Senator Kyl's Tucson and Phoenix offices:

"We are not the enemy; we are part of the solution"

Tucson: Rally in front of Kyl's office at 7315 N. Oracle Rd (northwest corner of Ina/Oracle). Friday, March 24 at 11:00am

Phoenix: March begins at St. Agnes Church at 24th and McDowell. Concludes at Senator Kyl's office 2200 East Camelback. Friday, March 24 at 11:00am

(more below the fold)

Tucson-On Friday, March 24th, Border Action Network will lead a coalition of Arizona organizations in front of Senator Kyl's offices in Tucson and Phoenix to insist that "we are not the enemy; we are part of the solution." Following immediately on the heels of a trip to D.C. to brief Senators and staffers on border issues, Border Action's statewide effort is at the forefront of an ongoing borderwide and national mobilization asserting community voices in debates over impending immigration reform legislation.

Arizona communities are among the populations most heavily and negatively impacted by failed US immigration policies -- from the grizzly deaths of migrants and the criminalization of humanitarian aid, to the continuous violation of the civil and human rights of border communities, to the irreversible destruction of delicate desert environs. more info below the fold...

In December the House of Representatives approved the infamous Sensenbrenner bill, H.R. 4437 which would criminalize the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., those that provide assistance to undocumented immigrants, build a 700-mile border wall and erode due process and judicial review. In early March the Senate took up the debate.

"Arizona Senator Kyl is not representing his constituents and is calling for measures similar to H.R. 4437," said Jennifer Allen, Executive Director of the Border Action Network.

Kyl is being challenged by his constituents for:
  • Mischaracterizing the charges against two AZ humanitarian aid workers and using their case to call for criminalizing humanitarian aid.
  • Calling for the construction of double or triple walls in Nogales, Douglas, Naco and Lukeville which will lead migrants and smugglers to more desperate and deadly means to enter the U.S., cause greater environmental damage, and cost the taxpayers more than $700,000 million for a band-aid strategy that fails to address root causes of migration.
  • Not supporting provisions to enable the 12 million workers already here to legalize their status nor any way for temporary workers to legalize their status.
  • Calling for thousands of more border patrol agents while ignoring the glaring need for creating mechanisms to oversee and hold the border patrol accountable to constitutional and human rights.

"We have just returned from a very successful trip to Washington, D.C. and I can tell you that immigrant and border communities across the country are standing up by the tens of thousands to show that we are not criminals or the enemies of this country. We are mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters who want to be a part of this country and its democratic processes," said Ana Alicia Casas of Border Action Network, "Our work and contributions to this country are permanent; our residency ought to be permanent as well."

" We do not need policies like H.R. 4437. Instead we need an immigration policy that provides a means for immigrants to attain permanent residency and a border policy that upholds community security and border security. A safe border must also be a just and humane border," said Grizelda Moya Flores, Border Action Network member.

Sponsoring organizations: Border Action Network, No More Deaths, Service Employees International Union, Center for Biological Diversity, Samaritans, Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, American Friends Service Committee, Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus, Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, AZ Coalition for Migrant Rights and other Phoenix organizations.

VISUALS & INTERVIEWS: Immigrant children carrying hundreds of drawings, banners, t-shirts with the message "We are not the enemy; we are part of the solution." Church leaders and immigrant workers and their families will be available for interviews.

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