Tell Congress: No to Border Militarization and Death! Print
Tell Congress:
No to Border Militarization and Death!


SOA Watch Delegation documents suffering, family separation and death at the border

U.S. militarization of our the Mexico border has claimed 5,000 lives since the late 1990s. Over $18 billion were spent last year to keep predator drones, 22,000 armed border guards, bombardier aircraft, black hawk helicopters, sophisticated surveillance systems, and 651 miles of steel wall at the border. This has pushed migrants - often fleeing the dire consequences of US economic policy - to take the only remaining passage north: the deadly Sonora desert. It is that desert that has claimed the majority of these 5,000 lives through dehydration, dysentery, hypothermia, and sheer exhaustion. The Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill that the Senate will debate this week only exacerbates this deadly situation, mandating billions of dollars to exponentially increase border militarization before putting anyone on the path to citizenship.

I read those statistics before I went with 16 SOA Watch activists to the border. Before I followed Steve into the Sonora desert to drop water on migrant trails, before I watched Olga call her coyote to hear he delivered her son to his home in New York, before I conversed with Pedro and tried not to stare at his missing leg - left under the Bestia train, before I stood at the wall with Jose Antonio's mother and wondered why the Border Patrol pumped so many bullets into his young body if he was on the Mexican side.

After this experience, I came to see the urgency of engaging the SOA Watch movement to resist the militarization of our border and its deadly consequences. I invite you to read the story of Maria and Jose and others below so that, together, we can try to make some difference. That can mean taking one minute to email your Senators and your Representative to say no to more border militarization, reaching out to immigrants in your own community, or joining us at the Stewart Immigration Detention Center during the SOA Watch vigil weekend.

SOA Watch Border Delegation Report Back.

Maria's roommates from the shelter in Nogales, Mexico, carried her gently into the room where members of our SOA Watch Border delegation had gathered to share with some of the migrants recently deported to Mexico. After five days traversing Arizona's Sonora desert, her frail and swollen legs had given out, and she was unable to walk. Next to her sat Sofia, able to walk -barely -but with large black and purple bruises on her arms from six days of iv fluids. She had been helicoptered out of the desert in an unconscious state. Both wore shy smiles that seemed to contrast the reality they had just lived. Or maybe not. Maybe they revealed an awareness of the sheer miracle of just being alive.

The desert had taken the power out of Maria's legs, but it did not claim her spirit. Nor did the 651-mile steel Border wall, nor the 18 billion dollars spent yearly by the US government to militarize the border. Maria informed us that once the swelling goes down and her knees are able to again carry her 100-lb body, she would be trying to cross the desert once more. READ MORE..