Thursday, May 29, 2008

June 1 Vigils Opposing the Border Wall in California and Texas

Full-scale construction of new border fencing has begun in San Diego/Tijuana, and is scheduled to begin in Hidalgo this July. In response, a coalition of community-based organizations will be convening a vigil on June 1 from 3 – 5 pm at Friendship Park in San Diego where the border fence meets the Pacific Ocean; at Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park at 7:30 pm; and at Hope Park in Brownsville, Texas at 7:30 pm. These "Friendship to Hope" gatherings at either end of the 1900-mile border will serve as the vigils' symbolic anchors. The vigil is called "From Friendship To Hope – Gathering for the Future of the U.S.-Mexico Border."

San Diego, California – Friendship Park:

All people of good will are invited to a Vigil this Sunday, June 1 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Border Field State Park . We will gather at " Friendship Park ," a celebrated meeting place for the peoples of the San Diego/Tijuana region that is threatened by DHS plans for triple-fencing the border. Directions to Border Field State Park can be found at:

Big Bend National Park, Texas – Santa Elena Canyon:

We invite people of good will in Big Bend to gather for our local "Friendship to Hope" vigil June 1 at 7 pm. The entrance fee to BBNP is $20 per car, $10 for seniors. Carpooling is recommended. We will be gathering on the shore of the Rio Grande nearest to the parking lot at Santa Elena Canyon. Please wear appropriate walking footwear, and bring a candle and your own water/snacks. Call Adrienne Evans at (432) 371-2725 for more details.

Brownsville, Texas - Hope Park:

THE COALITION OF AMIGOS IN SOLIDARITY & ACTION (CASA) will sponsor the vigil on Sunday, June 1ST, 7:30PM at HOPE PARK IN BROWNSVILLE (E. 12th Street and E. St. Charles Street).

Monday, May 19, 2008

Protest El Paso's Sham "Community Forums" on the Border Wall

Border walls are currently under construction in the El Paso sector, but the Border Patrol claims that they want to hear from the public. Just because they have no intention of making any changes to their plans apparently doesn’t mean that they are not ready to listen. According to the Border Patrol agent given the thankless task of staffing their “SBI Information Hotline” ( 1-866-215-6551 ) public comments received at “Community Forums” will be compiled in after action reports and passed along to the El Paso Sector Chief. They will NOT be released to the public or the press.

Since the public comments received at the “Community Forums” will be lost in a bureaucratic black hole, we need to make our voices heard outside these events. Protest outside and let the Border Patrol, the press, and the rest of the public know that we do not want a border wall. Make it clear that sham “Community Forums” are not enough. Let them know that asking for comments about a wall that is already under construction is a bad joke. Tell the press that this is nothing more than a cynical attempt by DHS Secretary Chertoff to pretend that there is public input so that he can get construction funds from Congressional Appropriations Committees. Send the message that we are not falling for it.

While you can carry signs and banners outside, they probably will not be allowed inside. If you choose to go in and give a comment wear a No Border Wall t-shirt. You can order one from
and all proceeds go to the fight to stop the border wall.

Here are the times and locations for the “El Paso Sector Border Patrol SBI Community Forums”:

May 24
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Chamizal National Memorial Park
800 S. San Marcial St.

May 27
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
El Paso Community College
9050 Viscount Blvd.
Administrative Services Center

May 31
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
El Paso Community College
Mission Del Campo Campus
10700 Gateway East

If you want to know what to expect inside, read the following article describing one in Arizona:
Border fence plans subject of feds' open house in Arizona
Arizona Daily Star May 14 2008

The Omnibus Spending Bill requires that DHS Secretary Chertoff convince the Appropriations Committees that he is listening to public input before they will release the funds that he needs to build the border wall. These meetings are nothing more than a cynical attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of members of Congress. Show him that we are not fooled!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Big Bend Border Wall Conference in Alpine, TX - May 17th

ReViva Collective is hosting a Big Bend Border Wall Conference in Alpine, TX Saturday May 17th at the Alpine Civic Center, 801 W. Holland, from 9:00am until 6:00pm. For more information contact ReViva Collective at revivacollective@ or 432-837-5736.

The purpose of the Big Bend Border Wall Conference is to bring together perspectives and information about the construction of the Texas-Mexico border wall, as defined by the Secure Fence Act. Conference speakers will include Dr. Mark Saka who will be speak on the the Economic and Social Origins of Increased Mexican Migration to the United States, Border Patrol Chief John Sietana and Deputy Carry Huffman who will give a presentation on the proposed plan for the border wall in the Marfa sector, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid who will be available to advise landowners, Enrique Madrid who will present a discussion on the militarization of the border, Nat Stone who will speak on how inequitable water distribution between the United States and Mexico has compromised Mexican ranching and agriculture, and consequently reduced security on both sides of the border, and Bill Addington who will speak on environmental issues and the importance of community organization. In addition, two organized strategy planning sessions will be held along with a screening offootage documenting the history of the border wall and the people resisting it. There will also be a puppet show and a wall shaped pinata!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Submit written testimony to the Congressional Field Hearing on the Border Wall

On April 28 a Congressional Field Hearing was held in Brownsville, Texas. Titled Walls and Waivers: Expedited Construction of the Southern Border Wall and the Collateral Impacts on Communities and the Environment, it was intended to investigate the impacts that the border wall will have on border communities if it is constructed. Brownsville Diocese Bishop Reymundo Pena, Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster, and many other border residents testified, explaining the damage that a border wall would cause to the assembled members of Congress. The committee will continue to accept written testimony until May 16th. This is an important opportunity to inform members of Congress, and to ensure that our voices become part of the official record. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff has announced that since he waived the National Environmental Policy Act there will be no Final Environmental Assessments or Environmental Impact Statements, and it is unclear what will happen to the hundreds of public comments that they received. That makes the comments submitted to members of Congress in connection to the field hearing even more important.

Here are the guidelines for written submissions to the U.S.Congressional field hearing record. They need to be in by Friday, May 16th.

1. Head your comments with the hearing name and date: Walls and Waivers: Expedited Construction of the Southern Border Wall and the Collateral Impacts on Communities and the Environment, April 28, 2008.

2. Do not exceed 10 pages.

3. No cover page is needed, although your name, title, and the organization that you represent (if you have one), should also be stated at the beginning of your testimony.

4. Please use typed single-space letter-size (8½ x 11) white paper.

5. Send via the postal service as they are not equipped to handle mass amounts of e-mail. The mailing address is:
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands
1324 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

6. If you submit attachments or exhibits to your testimony please include them as separate items at the end of your testimony. If attachments are more than 10 pages (in addition to your original testimony) or on paper larger than 8½ x 11, we will not accept them for printing. Instead, you should paraphrase or quote as needed. If including charts, tables, maps, or photographs, they should be included on separate pages, not within the text of a page.

7. THINGS TO AVOID: Underlining, footnotes, capitalization of the whole document or solid blocks of text.