Border Patrol backs down as activists challenge legitimacy of checkpoints and demand end to militarized borderlands
Tucson/ Nogales, AZ – A group of 200 people from different parts of the United States converged on Sunday afternoon, October 9 at the US Border Patrol checkpoint in the I-19, 20 miles north of Nogales, to challenge human rights violations and demand an end to militarized borderlands.
The activists marched to demand the permanent closure of all checkpoints throughout the US. At their arrival, a group of 20 people linked arms, staged a vigil and refused to leave the checkpoint for more than five hours, even after threats of the use of tear gas, arrest and federal felony charges.
Carlota Wrey, a founder member of People Helping People, an organization based in Arivaca, Arizona that provides humanitarian aid to those crossing the desert and dealing with Border Patrol, says “we believe that freedom of movement is a human right. Our communities must unite and lift up our voices to demand a halt of human rights abuses against immigrants and people of color, and an end of the militarization of the borders.”
As a final attempt to visibilize the struggle of migrants/refugees who risk their lives crossing the desert to avoid checkpoint, the participants staged a die-in in at the steps of the Customs and Border Patrol office. Father Roy Bourgeois, the School of Americas Watch (SOAW) founder, was pulled from the legs and kicked at different occasions by a Border Patrol agent. This action took place after the International Convergence organized by SOAW of 400 faith-based, immigrant rights, human rights, labor and other social justice groups this past weekend in Nogales, Arizona and Sonora, Mexico calling for an end to border militarization, the criminalization of migrants and to name the root causes of migration.
For more information: www.soaw.org/border
Border Patrol Checkpoint Action video footage: