Sign-On: Oppose the National Guard at the Border
We oppose further militarization of border enforcement operations and infrastructure, including Trump’s recent call to send National Guard troops to the border. We similarly opposed National Guard deployments under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Those troops provided supportive services that freed up more Border Patrol personnel to engage in direct immigration enforcement activities. The National Guard presence would contribute to the militarized environment of the border region and put border crossers and community members at greater risk of harassment and rights violations.
As we’ve seen in the past, these kinds of pronouncements about “imminent dangers” of “invasions” can also lead to an escalation of vigilantism and hate activity in the border region against anyone who “looks foreign”.
Click here to join an Open Letter to the President and to border state governors opposing the deployment of the National Guard to the border. Trump has manufactured this sense of urgency in response to news of the caravan of Central American men, women and children, traveling through Mexico to escape violence in their region (the eighth annual caravan, usually undertaken during Easter week). Border crossings by people without documents have declined over several years; the majority of border crossers are from countries other than Mexico, and are likely to be asylum seekers.
The President’s proposal and inflammatory statements expose his ignorance and/or complete disregard of U.S. and international obligations and commitments to refugees and asylum seekers.And his off-the-cuff rhetoric is indicative of his disdain for human rights at international borders. He is shamelessly acting out of contempt and disregard of the desperate conditions that have forced millions of adults and children, including unaccompanied minors, to leave their homes in search of safety and survival. His Easter weekend tweet about “enemy combatants pouring over our borders” is more demagoguery to stir fear and racial hostility among his base, give evidence to his campaign promise to close down immigration, and fuel further division in this country.
For decades, our members, partners and allies in border communities have consistently raised their voices against increased militarization, for its destructive effects on border communities and the environment, and have worked to provide humanitarian assistance — a basic human response — to help save the lives of desperate border crossers. This costly and heightened militarized presence can only worsen the problems of lack of border agency accountability and the mistreatment of border communities.
All people at borders should be treated with dignity and respect and provided with the ability to register their claims.
Will California send National Guard troops to patrol the border? (Mercury News, 4/5/18)