|Mexican children stand at the Anapra border fence.|
SOAW Founder Fr. Roy Bourgeois is expected to participate in the delegation and address a human rights conference Saturday morning. Other scheduled events include a march for immigrant rights, a conference on immigration and a vigil at the border fence to honor the victims of repressive immigration policies.
Why would SOAW, an organization dedicated to closing a military school, bring a delegation to the border? From their website:
For 60 years numerous graduates of the School of the Americas have returned to their countries to torture, disappear, and massacre fellow citizens in efforts to impose economic policies that benefit US corporations. As a result: tens of thousands of Latin Americans lost their lives, and even greater numbers lived in fear of such repression. Many had no option but to flee their homeland in search of safety and survival. This situation was compounded by the implementation of NAFTA in the 1990’s, forcing millions of migrants and refugees to cross the border, looking to escape the ravages of savage capitalism.
But today, as these same voracious economic policies are being rejected by many nations south of our border, they have turned around to devour the people of our own nation. As U.S. citizens lose homes and jobs, a scapegoat must be found. Not surprisingly, it is found in the immigrants, those who were pushed away from their homeland by the same economic and military system of domination. The result is an increasing militarization of the border between the United States and Mexico, the world's longest contiguous international divide between a superpower and a developing nation. Today there are more than 20,000 Border patrol agents patrolling the 2,000 mile long border with Mexico.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama said he had sent more “boots to the border” than any other administration. Record numbers of immigrants are being deported, tearing tens of thousands of families apart, leaving children without parents, sending promising students back to a home they never knew. We may actually come to lament the success of these efforts, recent studies show more Mexicans are returning to their country than coming here, opening up an economic void.
Just as the School of the Americas is a concrete expression of the injustice of our nation towards Latin America, so is the border today. [BE: emphasis mine] And, just as we gather every November at the fence of the SOA to say “no mas, no more,” we will be gathering at the border to say "no mas, no more" to immigration policies that use military muscle to criminalize the very people who have kept the wheels of our economic motor running for decades.
The public is invited to attend any or all of the weekend’s events with delegation members. Those who participate are asked to offer a $20 collaboration fee to cover rentals and expenses.
Friday, Feb. 17, at Sacred Heart Parish Gym, 231 Father Rahm St.in the Segundo Barrior
5:00 pm Registration for Weekend Conference
6:00 pm Dinner
7:30 pm Opening ceremonies, Welcome by SOAW, short talk by Perla de la Rosa
8:00 pm Music group
Saturday, Feb. 18, Mercado Mayapan, 2101 Myrtle
9:30 am Gather and participate in the Human Rights Conference opening march
10:00 am Participate in “Opening Ceremonies” of HRC. Roy gives words of solidarity and invites to
Action on Sunday morning.
Re-gather at Cristo Rey Iglesia Luterana, 1010 E.Yandell
11:00 am Update on immigration situation nationally
12:30 pm Lunch
2:00 pm Ruben Garcia, founder and director of Annunciation House
3:30 pm Break
4:00 pm Mexicans in Exile, Mexicans who have fled the violence in Mexico
6.00 pm Dinner
Sunday, Feb. 19, Sunland Park–Anapra Fence
9:00 am Gather at Sunland Park-Anapra fence
10:00 am Ritual and Action