Tuesday, February 1, 2011
NEWS RELEASE: BORDER PATROL HEADQUARTERS OCCUPATION PROTESTORS FIGHT CHARGES
DATE: Monday January 31, 2011
Contact: Alex Soto
Border Patrol Headquarters Occupation Protesters to Fight Charges
Group Calls for Further Action Against Border Militarization
Tucson, AZ -- On February 23, 2011, 2:00 PM at Tucson City Court, five of the six protesters who locked-down and occupied the US Border Patrol (BP) – Tucson Headquarters on May 21, 2010 are going to trial fighting one count each of "criminal trespassing". One of the six has chosen to take a diversion.
The action was taken, in part, to demand that BP, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), their parent entity, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Obama administration end militarization of the border, end the criminalization of immigrant communities, and end their campaign of terror which rips families apart through increasing numbers of raids and deportations.
Alex Soto, one of the arrestees and member of O'odham Solidarity Across Borders states, "As we did not enter the BP headquarters alone but with prayers of O'odham elders and community supporters, we are asking for support once again for our continued stand against border militarization. Our messaging is the reality for everyone that is forced to feel the pain that borders inflict upon us in our daily lives.
The Border Patrol is not the only agency responsible for the militarization of the border – and it's subsequent destruction of Indigenous and migrant communities – or the only benefactors of border militarization." Soto states.
In a previous release O'odham Solidarity Across Borders and O'odham elders stated,
"The development of the border wall has lead to desecration of Tohono O'odham ancestors graves, it has divided communities and prevents O'odham from accessing sacred places.
Troops and paramilitary law enforcement, detention camps, check points, and citizenship verification are not a solution to "issues" of migration. Indigenous Peoples have existed here long before these imposed borders, elders inform us that we always honored freedom of movement. Why are Indigenous communities and the daily deaths at the border ignored? The impacts of border militarization are constantly made invisible in the media, the popular culture of this country and even the mainstream immigrants rights movement which has often pushed for “reform” that means further militarization of the border, which means increased suffering for Indigenous communities. Border militarization destroys Indigenous communities."
Since the creation of the current U.S./Mexico border, 45 O’odham villages on or near the border have been completely depopulated.
According to the migrant support group No More Deaths, from October 2009 to Sept. 2010 there have been more than 250 deaths on the Arizona border alone.
Actions toward ending border militarization and the decriminalization of our communities:
- Immediately withdraw National Guard Troops from the US/Mexico border
- Immediately halt development of the border wall
- Immediately remove drones and checkpoints
- Decommission all detention camps and release all presently held undocumented migrants
- Immediately honor Indigenous Peoples rights of self-determination
- Fully comply with the recently signed UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Respect Indigenous People's inherent right of migration
- End NAFTA, FTAA and other trade agreements
- Immediately repeal SB1070 and 287g
- End all racial profiling
- No BP encroachment/sweeps on sovereign Native land
- No raids and deportations
- Immediate and unconditional regularization (“legalization”) of all people
- Uphold human freedom and rights
- Support dignity and respect
- Support and ensure freedom of movement for all people
Put this message in action and help end the attack on Indigenous and migrant communities. Take these messages to the street where you are. If you can, join us inside and outside the court room in Tucson at 2:00pm. on February 23, 2011.
Tucson City Court is located at 103 E. Alameda St. Tucson, AZ.
Additional ways to take action in your community to bring awareness to the impacts of the militarization of the border and criminalization of our communities:
1. Directly intervene by:
- Protesting institutions and agencies directly responsible (a brief list available at: www.survivalsolidarity.wordpress.com)
- Being part of (or starting) Border Patrol, ICE, National Guard, Minutemen watch groups in your community
- Stopping ICE vehicles from deporting migrants
- Providing aid for migrants crossing the border
2. Pressure political officials:
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Comment Line: 202-282-8495
3. Organize or attend an awareness or benefit event:
An awareness and benefit show will be held in Tucson on February 22nd at Dry River Infoshop.
A discussion on border issues will be held in Flagstaff, AZ on February 22nd at Taala Hooghan Infoshop.
4. Donate to Border Action Defense Fund:
5. Support local Indigenous struggles for self-determination and freedom of movement.
In particular, bring awareness to Indigenous communities on the US/Mex border that have been militarized.
To view the occupation video and for additional resources please visit:
Note to editors photos attached:
Border Patrol Lock down credit: O'odham Solidarity Across Borders