FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—July 7, 2010
Contact: Danielle Alvarado
Cell Phone: (408) 646-2175
Tucson, Arizona—No More Deaths welcomes Tuesday's announcement that the Department of Justice is filing a lawsuit against SB 1070, the most extreme among recent discriminatory measures passed by the Arizona legislature. In addition to preempting the federal government's sole jurisdiction over immigration enforcement, the implementation of SB 1070 is predicated on racial profiling; it promotes distrust between local communities and law enforcement; and it fails to uphold basic principles of fairness and equality.
Between June 14 and June 22, 2010, humanitarian volunteers at the Kino Border Initiative migrant aid center in Nogales, Sonora conducted interviews with 125 men and women recently removed from the United States. Of those interviewed, 26% (32 individuals) were taken from their families and communities in the interior of the country. SB 1070 would simply exacerbate this trend, which has proliferated under the Obama administration.
While the Department of Justice lawsuit may lead to an injunction before SB 1070 is due to take effect, the unfortunate reality is that this law is merely a symptom of a larger climate of fear-mongering and ill-considered policies that extend far beyond Arizona. While Obama denounces SB 1070, nothing is said about 287(g) agreements or other federal policies that lead to the de facto implementation of many of the practices that SB 1070 enshrines. The culture of abuse and impunity that pervades federal immigration enforcement, from Seattle to Miami, is especially apparent along the Southwest border, which is overrun with border enforcement personnel and infrastructure with limited oversight, accountability, or institutional safeguards for protecting human and civil rights.
The administration's approach to immigration enforcement is fundamentally flawed and continues to criminalize workers and families while doing nothing to address the broken state of our immigration system or the root causes of migration. The recent deadly tasering of a man in California and shooting of a 15-year-old boy near Ciudad Juarez by Border Patrol agents are symptoms of the violence perpetuated by militarized border enforcement. Since 2006 No More Deaths volunteers have interviewed thousands of individuals leaving Border Patrol custody, documenting hundreds of cases involving excessive force, verbal and physical abuse, and denial of access to water, family members, and accurate legal information. The federal government must do more to hold its agents responsible for their actions, and should immediately suspend all immigration detention and removal until comprehensive immigration reform is enacted that protects the rights, life and dignity of every person.
No More Deaths provides direct humanitarian assistance to women, men and children forced into the remote Arizona desert by US border policies. More than 6,000 have died along the border since 1998. Since 2006, No More Deaths volunteers have received over 500,000 recently repatriated migrants in aid stations in Northern Sonora, and documented a series of abuses in the custody of the US Border Patrol Agents. In 2008 No More Deaths released a detailed report, Crossing the Line: Human Rights Abuses of Migrants in Short-Term Custody on the Arizona/Sonora Border, which presents over 400 individual accounts of Border Patrol abuses, along with analysis and policy recommendations. The stories were collected over a two-year period, beginning as a natural outgrowth of our direct aid work on the border.
Download a copy of the report at: http://nomoredeaths.org/