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Zooming to the Border for Human Rights

The US government has been systematically violating the human rights of immigrants, especially along our southern border, for many years. In recent years the border situation has become critical. On this page are recordings of testimony presented during online discussions held from mid-August to mid-October 2020 by a series of People-to-People Fact-Finding Panels on the U.S.– Mexico Border. The panels were convened by a group of activists, researchers, and independent  journalists sponsored by El Tribuno del Pueblo and our sister publication, the People’s Tribune. The topics covered include the impact of the Migrant Protection Protocol; the conditions facing workers in the El Paso/Cd. Juarez region; how border wall construction hurts local communities and ecosystems; the experience of those working for human rights on both sides of the border in the Mexicali, Tijuana and San Diego areas; and the militarization of the border. The testimony gathered from the panels is being compiled into a report to be presented to the United Nations and other authorities.

The following text was pulled from the Carbon Trace Productions website. Film Synopsis: One man from Brooklyn sits alone in the West Texas desert, feeling morally compelled to witness the horrors of family separation and child detention on the southern border. His goal is to shut down an American internment camp and free 2,800 migrant […]

The militarization of border communities is the topic of this panel discussion held on October 14, 2020. It features on-the-ground advocates from San Diego/Tijuana, Tucson, and El Paso, who describe the grim reality of border community militarization. This is the fifth of five US-Mexico Border Fact Finding panels in the Zooming to the Border for Human Rights series sponsored by the People’s Tribune and El Tribuno del Pueblo.

Panelists in this video are Alma Maquitico, co-director of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; Ricardo Favela, an organizer with the Alianza Comunitaria, a coalition of human rights groups based in San Diego’s North County that formed to protect communities from the increased presence of local and federal immigration enforcement; Estefania Castañeda Pérez, a doctoral candidate at the UCLA Department of Political Science whose research primarily focuses on the conceptualization and consequences of violence and border politics; Vanessa Ceceña, Human Rights Program Associate for the American Friends Service Committee’s U.S./Mexico Border Program, where she focuses on documenting human and civil rights violations in the border region; and Vicki B. Gaubeca, Director for the Southern Border Communities Coalition. The moderator is Pedro Rios, Director of the AFSC’s U.S./Mexico Border Program.

This online panel discussion offers testimony from those working for human rights on both sides of the border in the Mexicali and San Diego/Tijuana regions. This is the fourth of five US-Mexico Border Fact-Finding panels in the Zooming to the Border for Human Rights series sponsored by the People’s Tribune and El Tribuno del Pueblo.

Panelists in this video are Tania Garcia, Coordinator of the Legal Clinic in Espacio Migrante, a binational organization based in Tijuana that provides dignified care and humanitarian assistance to migrant communities and shelter residents; Yolanda Varona Palacios, founder of Dreamers Moms in Tijuana, a group of deported mothers whose children are Dreamers and US citizens; Carolina Cortez, who manages the Student Empowerment Center at Border Kindness in Mexicali, Mexico; Hector Barajas, a U.S. Army veteran who was born in Mexico, raised in L.A., was deported and later founded the Deported Veterans Support House; and Dulce Garcia, Executive Director of Border Angels, a non-profit organization that conducts humanitarian work. The moderator is Magdaleno Leno Rose-Avila, Executive Director of Building Bridges, an innovative program that supports various groups fighting for human rights.

How border wall construction hurts local communities and ecosystems, and how it contributes to border deaths is the focus of this online panel discussion. It includes organizers from San Diego/Tijuana, Southern Arizona, and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. This is the third of five US-Mexico Border Fact-Finding panels about the impact of US immigration policies on human rights along the border, part of the Zooming to the Border for Human Rights series sponsored by the People’s Tribune and El Tribuno del Pueblo.

Panelists in this video are Norma Herrera, who coordinates a grassroots coalition working to stop border wall construction in the Rio Grande Valley and supports efforts to free people from ICE detention; Dan Watman, coordinator and founder of the Binational Friendship Garden at the San Diego/Tijuana border; Laiken Jordahl, Borderlands Campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity; and Alejandro Ortigoza, a co-founder of Armadillos, a group that searches for migrants who get lost in the desert while trying to cross the border. The moderator is Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee’s U.S./Mexico Border Program.

This online panel discussion focuses on the El Paso, Texas and Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico area, and the speakers are activists in that region. This is the second of five US-Mexico Border Fact-Finding panels about the impact of US immigration policies on human rights along the border, part of the Zooming to the Border for Human Rights series sponsored by the People’s Tribune and El Tribuno del Pueblo. Panelists in this video are Hilda Villegas, part of the leadership of Familias Unidas del Chamizal; Rosemary Rojas, board chair of the Border Agricultural Workers Project; Susana Prieto Terrazas, a labor attorney in Mexico; and Fernando Garcia, founding director of the Border Network for Human Rights. The moderator is Carlos Marentes, founder and director of the Border Agricultural Workers Project.

In this online panel discussion, activists in the Brownsville, Texas and Tamaulipas, Mexico area describe the impact of the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), which forces those seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border to wait in miserable and dangerous conditions in Mexico. This is the first of five US-Mexico Border Fact-Finding panels about the impact of US immigration policies on human rights along the border, part of the Zooming to the Border for Human Rights series sponsored by the People’s Tribune and El Tribuno del Pueblo.

Panelists in this video are Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley; Thelma Garcia, an immigration attorney in Texas; Lilli Rey, founder of Bay Area Border Relief; Jennifer Harbury, an attorney, human rights activist and advocate for farmworker families in the Rio Grande Valley; and Jorge Armando Sanchez Abreu, a Venezuelan national who migrated seeking asylum in the US. The moderator is Dr. Belinda Hernandez Arriaga, who is part of the Bay Area Border Relief team that has been working with asylum seeker families at the southern border since 2018.

Zooming to the Border for Human Rights

Executive Summary
October 29, 2020
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