Las Cruces, N.M.—Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights and the ACLU of Texas launched the Revitalize Not Militarize “Raise Your Voice” campaign, which aims to document testimonies of how border militarization affects quality of life issues for community members in Southern New Mexico and Texas.
As part of immigration reform, the U.S. Congress is discussing legislation that would affect community members who reside within 100 miles of the southern border. This could mean additional drone surveillance, more checkpoints, more border agents in our communities than police officers, and the continued erosion of the civil and human rights of New Mexicans and Texans.
“We want to document the effects of militarization on our communities and how there is a need for more accountability and oversight of existing border enforcement resources,” stated Vicki B. Gaubeca, director of the Regional Center for Border Rights at the ACLU of New Mexico. “Instead of continuing to spend billions of dollars on border enforcement, Congress should invest taxpayer’s dollars in areas it is needed most, like jobs, education and health care.”
“The border is a place where people live, work and play, and it serves as a cornerstone for our society,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. “We seek greater respect for border residents and families, whose values should not be sacrificed in the name of national security. Those of us who are engaged on the border know it is secure.”
The Revitalize Not Militarize “Raise Your Voice” campaign asks community members to report if they feel they have experienced racial profiling or civil and human rights violations by local police or immigration officials. Over the next few months, the ACLU-NM Regional Center for Border Rights and ACLU Texas staff and volunteers will travel throughout southern New Mexico and West Texas to educate community members about their rights and to document cases of abuse.