Regional
3:15 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

Local ACLU Sends 'Immigration Quilt' To Washington D.C.

Lucia Carmona has been singing since she was little, performing with friends at the plaza in Juarez.

“In that time, it was a dirty word that we live in Mexico because of political prisoners…as citizens.”

She was just a teenager. Within a few years, she says, almost all her friends disappeared or were killed.

"It was a war against the people.”

Juarez, El Paso and Las Cruces are one place to her -- home.  

Governments don't always see it that way, though. Recent bills before the U.S. Congress ask for billions in increased border security, including more border patrol agents. Vicki Gaubeca of the ACLU of New Mexico says that is the wrong answer.

"We’ve seen with this massive deployment of border patrol agents…there has also been an increase of human and civil rights violations…increased…oversight

Inspired by the quilt used to raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic, she's sending patches of a quilt to them.

several of the panels were created in citizenship classes or English as a second language classes

In Las Cruces, the pieces of the quilt have to be packed up and put into a box before they’re taken to Washington D.C. and then they will be taken out there and pieced together.

“Each panel represents a unique story…need for spending money in schools…parks…instead of how we’re spending it now which seems to be only on enforcement.”

Chair of the Dona Ana County board of commissioners, Billy Garrett, attended the sendoff for the quilt.

"Right now, we’re struggling with the fact that federal and state funding for grants is being dried up.”

He says the federal government never provided millions of dollars to flood victims in Dona Ana County but would possibly spend billions on increased security. It has him asking why.

"I think security is important…but we have other needs that would make the border stronger and better for everybody.”

Lucia has been singing her song of immigration reform for 30 years. She hasn’t sung the final note yet.

“I don’t want to give up. What I see always is the challenges that we confront everyday or every time where we get to the point, ‘Now what?’ Then we have another challenge.”