Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Southern Border Communities Coalition Launched Today

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 3:40 PM

A press release today from the Border Action Network regarding the formation of the Southern Border Communities Coalition (for full list of signatories go here):

As the government continues to pour more and more resources into border enforcement without providing appropriate accountability and oversight, border communities have borne the brunt of these policies, which have adversely impacted businesses, our residents' civil rights, the environment and international relations.

Today, border organizations and community leaders announced the formation of an unprecedented coalition to assert the rights and interests of the communities that often fall casualty to our country's border policies.

More than six months in the making, the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) has officially launched with more than 60 signatories from San Diego to Brownsville.

“It’s critical that we organize and coordinate our voices along the border if we are to have an impact on the national level,” states Christian Ramirez of the American Friends Service Committee, one co-chair of the SBCC. The coalition, which is broad-based and includes everything from environmental to faith to business organizations, is based around a formal agreement that identifies the common goals of the parties.

Under the agreement, the parties are focused on four overarching goals: 1. Work to ensure that border enforcement policies and practices are accountable and fair, respect human dignity and human rights, and prevent the loss of life in the region. 2. Promote policies and solutions that improve the quality of life in border communities. 3. Advance a positive image of the border region. 4. Support rational and humane immigration reform policies affecting the border region.

“Many of the organizations in the coalition have been working on these goals already, but now we are intent on coordinating our efforts and taking our work to a new level,” stated Jennifer Allen of Border Action Network, the other co-chair of the SBCC. In the coming year, the coalition will focus on developing and deploying a common communication strategy, a coordinated base-building strategy, and a targeted strategy to change enforcement policies and practices that are detrimental to the border region.

The coalition is led by a steering committee representing the four southern border states and co-chaired by Jennifer Allen and Christian Ramirez:

Steering Commitee: California - Christian Ramirez (rep), Andrea Guerrero (alternate); Arizona - Jennifer Allen (rep); Jaime Farrant (alternate); New Mexico - Vicki Gaubeca (rep), Alma Maquitico (alternate); Texas - Mike Seifert (rep), Jazmin Francis (alternate).

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