Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Derechos Humanos: Another Border Death: Failed Leadership

December 15, 2010
Contact: Derechos Humanos: 520.770.1373

Another Border Death Underscores the Need for Meaningful Dialogue:
Border Policies Prove Failure of Leadership

The CoaliciĆ³n de Derechos Humanos extends its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was shot and killed early this morning. While this vicious and unnecessary crime is condemned by all, we urge everyone in this emotionally charged environment to not allow it to divert us from the very necessary dialogue we must have.

Immigration and "border security" issues have gripped the American public in a way not seen in recent history. We must use this tragedy to look at why this would happen. Are we surprised at the increase in smuggling of drugs and people through Arizona? When the United States federal government began "prevention through deterrence" policies in the mid-1990s (otherwise known as Operations Gatekeeper, Safeguard, Hold the Line and Rio Grande), it resulted in the funneling of drugs and immigrants through areas in the Arizona-Sonora border. This was the intended strategy, and the deadly effects that border communities have since suffered were not only expected, but included in these plans.

In the 1994 memo Border Patrol Strategic Plan: 1994 and Beyond prepared by the U.S. Border Patrol, then-Commissioner Doris Meisner sited a series of phases being implemented by the Southern Border Strategy, including the expected effects these strategies would have. Some of the expected outcomes outlined in the memo include: more violence, more sophisticated methods of smuggling, and more lucrative criminal operations.

Since the implementation of these policies, we have witnessed the deadly impacts every day on the Arizona border. More than 2,000 deaths of migrants have been documented on the Arizona-Sonora border. From the killing of 18 year-old U.S. citizen Esequiel Hernandez, Jr., murdered on his family ranch by U.S. Marines, the shooting and killing of a 15 year-old youth on the El Paso border by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, the killing of local rancher Rob Krentz, murdered on his ranch land, the killing of 18 year-old Bennett Patricio, Jr., a Tohono O'odham tribal member killed on his native land by U.S. Border Patrol, 14 year-old Josseline Jamiletha Hernandez Quinteros, who died in the Arizona desert, to the killing of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, these deaths are not only unnecessary, but can be clearly viewed as a direct consequence of our immigration, border and drug policies.

We urge our community to engage in a rational and meaningful dialogue. Until then, more families will continue to bear the brutality resulting from the conditions created by our policies.

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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