Contact: Alex Soto
BORDER PATROL OCCUPIERS TRESPASSING CHARGE DROPPED
CALL FOR ACTION FOR JUNE 29, 2011
Chuckson (Tucson), AZ - The six protesters who locked-down and occupied the United States Border Patrol (BP) – Tucson Headquarters on May 21, 2010 are returning to trial to fight the remaining count of disorderly conduct "with serious disruptive behavior” charge. Last February the six also stood trial for a charge of criminal trespassing, but their defense team discovered that the trespassing charge was incorrectly filed by the State. The defense then filed a motion to dismiss the charge of criminal trespassing, which the court granted. The six return to trial on June 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm at the Tucson City Court.
In addition to the kick off of the trial, the border patrol occupiers called for renewed action against border militarization. More than 40 protesters took to the streets, with banners reading, “Indigenous Resistance, Protect Sacred Places”, “Free Movement for People Not Commerce, Tear Down the Wall” and chanting “No Borders, No Border Patrol.” Two protesters were arrested. A banner reading “Border patrol out of O’odham land ” was also suspended from the “Snake Bridge” that morning before court. At one point they rallied in front of the streamline courtroom. Operation Streamline, started in 2005 is a “zero tolerance” rapid court process that prosecutes hundreds of migrants a day, sometimes in shackles. Constitutional rights are also not granted and what would take multiple hearings is often a less than a two-day process of arrest and deportation.
O’odham Elders attended the court proceedings to demonstrate their support.
Alex Soto, Tohono O’odham, and one of the arrestees states, "It was good to see all the support last February for our initial trial proceeding. We need to continue to build, and remember this action was a prayer, and the dismissal of trespassing reaffirms that the Border Patrol troops are the real trespassers, not us. How can I, a Tohono O'odham person, be trespassing on my own land?”
“Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Border Patrol, Immigration Custom Enforcement and their corporate backers such as Wackenhut, are the true criminals. Troops and paramilitary law enforcement, detention camps, check points, and citizenship verification are not a solution to ‘issues’ of migration. Indigenous Peoples have existed here long before these imposed borders, and Elders inform us that we always honored freedom of movement. Why are Indigenous communities and the daily deaths at the border ignored? The impacts of border militarization are constantly being made invisible in and by the media, and the popular culture of this country. Even the mainstream immigrant rights movement has often pushed for “reform”, which means further militarization of the border, leading to increased suffering for Indigenous communities. Border militarization destroys Indigenous communities." stated Soto.
Kevin Jose, Akimel/Tohono O’odham, and member of O’odham Solidarity Across Borders states, "During the time of this action, my thoughts ran so deep as to what else we could do and what we can make happen. Singing for them at this action was powerful and their hearts were stronger than ever. What the state does on the control of free movement along our traditional lands is like a choke hold to our throats. The push to militarize the border does not just affect the Tohono O’odham who live in the border region, it affects all O’odham. In Tohono, it comes in the form of a border wall, in the Gila River Indian Community; it comes in form of a freeway”.
Currently the state of Arizona is pushing for the construction of the South Mountain Loop 202 freeway extension on Akimel O’odham land (Phoenix Area). The Loop 202 is part of the CANAMEX transportation corridor, which is part of the larger NAFTA highway project. The two proposed routes will either result in a loss of approximately 600 acres of tribal land, and the forced relocation of Akimel O'odham and Pee-Posh families or would gouge a 40-story high, 200-yard wide cut into Muadag Do'ag (O'odham name for South Mountain), which is sacred to all O'odham and Pee-Posh.
“Neo-liberal projects such as CANAMEX and NAFTA are attacking O’odham communities. All these attacks are connected. Support our nawoj (friends) on June 29th for their trial" stated Jose.
The creation of the current U.S./Mexico border, 45 O’odham villages on or near the border have been completely depopulated.
According to the migrant support group No More Deaths, from October 2009 to April 2011 there have been more than 338 deaths on the Arizona border alone.
1,200 National Guard troops have been stationed along the southwestern border since June 2010.
Additionally, the state of Arizona recently passed a bill which will allow for Arizona to build its own border wall. The law goes into effect July 20 of this year.
Actions toward ending border militarization and the decriminalization of our communities:
- Immediately withdraw National Guard Troops from the US/Mexico border
- Immediately halt development of the border wall
- Immediately remove drones and checkpoints
- Decommission all detention camps and release all presently held undocumented migrants
- Immediately honor Indigenous Peoples rights of self-determination
- Fully comply with the recently signed UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Respect Indigenous People's inherent right of migration
- End NAFTA, FTAA and other trade agreements
- Immediately end all CANAMEX/NAFTA Highway projects (such as the South Mountain Freeway)
- Immediately repeal SB1070 and 287g
- End all racial profiling
- No BP encroachment/sweeps on sovereign Native land
- No raids and deportations
- Immediate and unconditional regularization (“legalization”) of all people
- Uphold human freedom and rights
- Uphold the rights of ALL Indigenous People - repeal HB 2281, support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People
- Support dignity and respect
- Support and ensure freedom of movement for all people
Put this message into action and help end the attack on Indigenous and migrant communities. Take these messages to the streets, wherever you are. If you can, join us inside and outside the court room in Tucson at 2:00pm on June 29, 2011.
Tucson City Court is located at 103 E. Alameda St. Tucson, AZ.
Additional ways to take action in your community, and bring awareness to the impacts of border militarization and the criminalization of our communities:
1. Directly intervene by:
- Protesting institutions and agencies directly responsible (a brief list available at: www.survivalsolidarity.wordpress.com)
- Being part of (or starting) Border Patrol, ICE, National Guard, Minutemen watch groups in your community
- Stopping ICE vehicles from deporting migrants
- Providing aid for migrants crossing the border
2. Pressure political officials:
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Comment Line: 202-282-8495
3. Organize or attend awareness or benefit event:
4. Donate to Border Action Defense Fund:
5. Support local Indigenous struggles for self-determination and freedom of movement.
In particular, bring awareness to Indigenous communities on the US/Mexican border that have been militarized.
READ MORE AT O'ODHAM SOLIDARITY: