Citizens north of US-Mexico border address the UN about overbearing border policies
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The United Nations Human Rights Commission issued a report earlier this month that detailed concerns about how certain groups are treated in the United States, including people living stateside near the Mexico border.
Four generations ago, Lillian Serrano’s ancestors settled in the area just north of the Mexico border. She testified at the UN last month.
“And what I’m describing is what I see,” Serrano said. “A place where we want to have our families in, grow into a place where we welcome newcomers and people from all over the world.”
She’s concerned about what politicians see when they visit the border.
“Yet there’s a power of decision makers. It was with Border Patrol who has very good lobbyists, who have been very successful at ensuring that by portraying the border as this place of chaos, the agency continues to receive unchecked funding,” Serrano explained.
Jovanny Sebastian Hernandez also testified to the UN. He said checkpoints within the US have legal citizens questioning whether they want to travel outside of their hometowns because they could be detained by US Customs and Border Protection. He described a 52-mile stretch between Las Cruces, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas.
“These two cities, with close to 1.5 million people, are surrounded by six CBP checkpoints,” Hernandez explained. “If I wish to visit my family in a different city, I have to go through these checkpoints. I have to be asked questions about who I am, where I come from, whether or not I’m a citizen, just because of maybe the way I look, my last name, the color of my skin, what have you, and this is not an experience that’s unique to me.”
Senator Casey Crabtree visited the border with other lawmakers. We asked about the claim of racial profiling of legal citizens within the US carried out by the CBP.
“We didn’t see that when we were there or at these checkpoints,” Crabtree said. “But what I would say is there’s absolutely no room for racism or antisemitism or these types of actions anywhere in our country.”
Whether it’s at or near the border.
“I saw an entire process that was completely broken. And so I would just tell you, there is no policy down there on the border that is working correctly right now,” Crabtree said.
Regarding politicians sending troops to the border.
“Are you sending another occupying military force to our homes?” Hernandez asked. “Are you joking, right racist policies that perpetuate a culture of fear for people who live nowhere near to the border and know nothing? What are the daily experiences like right? I think all this does really serves to flame the base within their own home states and to perpetuate lies about what it’s like here.”
Crabtree believes change needs to start from Washington and that all need to be treated fairly.
“And be part of the, you know, the United States of America with the same dream right now. None of those policies are working,” Crabtree emphasized.
The UN does not have the authority to mandate change, but it does highlight issues on the world stage. In the past, the US and other countries being questioned responded with plans of how improvements will be implemented.
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