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Border and Community Vigilantism

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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Border and Community Vigilantism - by Stephen Lendman

Founded by long-time human rights activist/former baseball executive Enrique Morones in 1986, Border tries to save lives by "stop(ping) unnecessary deaths of individuals traveling through the Imperial Valley desert (and mountain) areas....surrounding San Diego County, as well (locations) around the" US-Mexican border.

Extreme heat and cold conditions take lives. Desert summer temperatures reach 127 degrees so water is crucial to survive. Volunteers provide it throughout the spring and summer months, in violation of US law. In fall and winter, life-saving stations are maintained in mountain areas, providing warm clothes, food, and water.

A recent article covered Obama's immigration agenda, accessed through the following link:

click here

It discussed the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) recent report on repressive immigrant policing. It accused Washington and growing numbers of states of running "a brutal system of immigration control and policing that criminalizes immigration status, normalizes the forcible separation of families, destabilizes communities and workplaces, and fuels widespread civil rights violations."

It also fuels racial discrimination and hate violence against anyone perceived to be foreign, especially people of color, notably from south of the border. They risk cruel and unusual punishment, even death, NNIRR reporting at least two migrant fatalities daily, and for every body found "at least ten others are believed to have disappeared."

Repressive Legislation

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On April 30, 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070, Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, an unprecedented anti-immigrant measure, portending others, including from Washington. It legalized unchecked police racial profiling of anyone suspected of being undocumented, criminalizing them as trespassers, and subjecting them to misdemeanor or, at times, felony charges. 

It jeopardizes the health, welfare and safety of immigrants by giving police authority to stop anyone for any reason, question their residency legitimacy, and demand proof of legal entry or citizenship, without which anyone may be arrested, fined, jailed, and/or deported without cause, habeas or due process rights. 

It requires immigrants to carry authorization papers. Not doing so is a crime. It legitimizes illegal searches and seizures on streets, in vehicles, at work, in stores, at school, places of worship, or at home any hour of the day or night. Since 2005, state legislatures throughout the country enacted over 1,300 anti-immigrant measures, violating civil liberty protections.

Under South African apartheid, pass laws segregated blacks from whites, restricted their movements, required pass books be carried at all times, and produced on demand or face arrest and prosecution. Evolving from the 18th and 19th centuries until their 1986 repeal, they restricted entry to cities, forcibly relocated blacks, denied them most public amenities, many forms of employment, and became apartheid's most hated symbol.

Apartheid is the worst form of racism. Militarized borders and communities are the worst form of apartheid, targeting people of color unjustly, subjecting them to persecution, violence, incarceration, deportation or death. Yet it's spreading across America.

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On December 31, New York Times writer Julia Preston headlined, "Political Battle on Illegal Immigration Shifts to States," saying:

SB 1070 began it, "even though a federal court suspended central (statute) provisions...." Led by Republicans, a new "wave of state measures (aim) at cracking down on illegal immigration." According to Law Professor Kris Kobach, "States will push ahead regardless of the Ninth Circuit. A lot of people recognize that the district judge's decision is very much open to dispute."

In early January, at least five states began a "coordinated effort to cancel automatic (US) citizenship for children born in this country to illegal immigrant parents," an unprecedented move. Opponents call it unconstitutional, saying Washington, not states, must decide. Nonetheless, passage seems likely after Republicans gained over 690 state legislative seats in November, giving them their strongest state representation since the 1920s.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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