Local Viewpoints
6:00 am
Wed July 9, 2014

"Border Reality Checkpoint" Day Of Action In Las Cruces And El Paso

  EL PASO, TX & LAS CRUCES, NM —Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights and Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project along with community leaders and volunteers will join communities in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in a day of action to simultaneously deploy “Border Reality Checkpoints.”

The border region is home to roughly 15 million people who encounter U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and the Border Patrol daily—to go to work, buy groceries, or run basic errands. Unfortunately, the lack of adequate oversight for our nation’s largest law enforcement agency has allowed CBP to act out-of-control, abusing their power and the rights of border residents with little or no accountability.

“Communities border-wide report feeling treated with suspicion by CBP and subjected to unjustified detention, invasive questioning and searches, verbal and physical abuse, excessive force and profiling,” states Stephanie Japczyk for the Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project . “We’re here to remind individuals of their rights in the border region, how the U.S. Constitution still applies here, and listen to concerns of abuse.”

“Major reforms of Border Patrol are long overdue,” adds Brian Erickson, Policy Advocate for the ACLU-NM Regional Center for Border Rights. “This Administration can put an end to excessive force and other abuses at the hands of CBP through simple reforms, such as the use of body-worn cameras paired with privacy protections.”

The “Border Reality Checkpoint” is one action in the ongoing Revitalize not Militarize campaign and aims to inform border residents of how to protect their rights, speak up about abuses, and join efforts to demand reforms. The July 9th day of action includes checkpoints deployed in San Ysidro, CA, Tucson and Arivaca, AZ, Columbus, NM and El Paso and Brownsville, TX.