Thursday, March 2, 2006

Violence at the U.S./Mexico Border

The local NPR station is operated by the University of Arizona, and probably like other NPR stations across the country, features segments on local news provided by local journalists. This morning the topic of discussion was increased violence on the border. There were interviews by a couple of sheriffs in the counties that rest alongside the line. Their comments highlighted their concern that over the recent years, they have seen a change in immigrant traffic from passive to aggressive.

I arrived at work before the segment was over and couldn't finish listening, but thought about that discussion throughout my day and the root causes of the increased tension. Apparently I was channeling the folks over at Derechos Humanos because one of their spokeswomen had this to say:

"The increase in militarization has turned smugglers more organized," said Kat Rodriguez, an organizer with Derechos Humanos, a Tucson group that tries to help migrants. "We've been successful at affecting where people cross, rather than how they do it."
It's a tough issue and reminds me abit about Iraq and the U.S. military presence there. The local insurgency is fighting against the occupiers (us) and rather than stand down, we're staying the course/beefing up our forces with continual soldier rotations, causing further escalation of the insurgency and tension.

more below the fold

The situation is mirrored in the borderlands. It's no coincidence that violence has increased as policy changes increase U.S. military presence across the desert southwest.
A Senate committee recommended doubling proposed funding for stationing National Guard troops on Arizona's southern border, but the bill could face strong opposition from the governor.

The Appropriations Committee voted 7-4 Tuesday to recommend approval of House Bill 2701. As passed by the House last month, the measure would appropriate $5 million from the state General Fund to the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to mobilize the Guard.

Some lawmakers have lobbied for troops at the border since the governor declared a state of emergency there last year in response to increased illegal immigration.

Unfortunately, the popular position among Americans involves "protecting the homeland" from "criminals and terrorists". The blame will once again be put on the victim of the failed policy of the aggressors. I feel a personal responsibility to lobby for the policies that take into account the human aspect of the people who choose to risk their lives to support their families back home.

There is a crisis, that much all sides agree on, and it's no surprise that their solution involves military power instead of a combination of diplomacy, economic relief and death minimalization. They rely on might, while the true liberal position involves human rights.

Crossposted from my humble blog


elRanchero said...

I heard the NPR story also. Did you catch Robert Rappaport say "there are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the US draining money from hospitals and schools". I assume it was a quote from the governor or Sheriff Dever's press release. Either way I was shocked.

But, the whole report stunk. Dever is an elected official so he has credibility but he's also a supporter of vigilantes and white supremacists.

Way back in the day--before the Minute men--Sheriff Dever spoke at an anti-illegal immigration conference in 2000. As he took the microphone he thanked all the good work that his good friend Roger Barnett has done.

It's good that they are friends because Barnett could cost Dever a lot of money and his job. Roger Barnett detained a group of Mexican-American citizens at gunpoint on public land, beat a migrant with a flashlight and sicced his dog on him, and is accused of kicking a woman in a group of 16 migrants.

Barnett and Dever are both being sued for tens of millions of dollars over the three incidents. Barnett for breaking the law, Dever for refusing to investigate. For over two years, folks over at Border Action in Douglas have been putting pressure on AZ Attorney General Terry Goddard to prosecute Barnett.

It's too bad there is no one like Jon Tanton on our side who will spend millions of dollars to fly elected officials to DC. If there was, I vote to send Santa Cruz County Sheriff Estrada first. Sheriff Estrada is a great guy, lifetime resident of Nogales and lifetime law enforcement member. In a community forum last weekend Sheriff Estrada told the group that the wall doesn't work and will never work. What we need is a real immigration plan.

Let's hope they don't do more harm then good the next 40 days on the Hill.

Man Eegee said...

thanks for that background info, elranchero, I didn't know about those cases and will look into their history. I agree with you about Sheriff Estrada, unfortunately they don't want to hear a balanced take on this issue. Hope to see you around this blog to help us compile info.

Duke1676 said...

I second what Manny said. :)

Great info, and welcome