Activists call on Texas Governor Greg Abbott to stop spending taxpayers’ money to keep migrants out and instead invest in water, health and education
EL PASO, TX (Border report) – After driving four days along the Texas-Mexico border, members of a coalition of nine civil rights organizations say they find communities with many unmet needs.
The Frontera Texas organizing caravan departed from El Paso on May 1 and plans to arrive in Brownsville on May 17, stopping along the way to talk to locals and hold civil rights seminars.
The coalition held “Know Your Rights” presentations at Fabens, Fort Hancock and Presidio, and visited the West Texas Detention Center in Sierra Blanca and collected food donations to distribute to families in need on along their route.
“We’ve been through very poor and demoralized communities with multiple issues affecting them, from (lack of) economic development to immigration,” said Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights of El Paso, a caravan organizer. “Presidio is of great concern with migrants crossing this horrible desert and dying in numbers we never expected.”
Groups that include BNHR, Casa Proyecto Libertad and The Union of the Pueblo Entero (LUPE), are concerned about what they say is a pattern of civil and human rights abuses in immigrant communities in Texas, particularly those with a large presence of border agents and those where Operation Lone Star is in effect. The latter is part of Abbott’s efforts to protect the state amid an increasing number of migrant arrests.
Texas spent billions on Operation Lone Star, which includes maintaining the state’s national guard on the border, and other border security initiatives.
Activists say they are saddened to see so much tax money going to law enforcement in peaceful border communities that could instead use the funding to meet basic needs and improve the quality of life of its residents.
“It’s very sad and unfortunate that so much money is being spent on immigrant law enforcement in the state while at the same time we find communities and towns with no clean water, no electricity, no health clinics and no schools along the Texas border,” Garcia mentioned.
The caravan was in Del Rio on Thursday with Eagle Pass next on the schedule.