Jun 24, 2013 3:00 PM by Sarah Sanchez

Border activists oppose 'border surge' option

TUCSON - Immigration reform activists from around Southern Arizona are holding a press conference Monday in order to announce their position on the so-called "Border Surge" amendment to the Senate "Gang of 8" Immigration Reform Bill.

Representatives from Coalición de Derechos Humanos, No More Deaths, Border Action Network, Corazón de Tucson, the Sierra Club, Tucson Samaritans, Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras, Alliance for Global Justice, Repeal Coalition, Phoenix Allies for Community Health, and Keep Tucson Together Community Legal Clinic are encouraging the withdrawal of support for the Senate's immigration proposal if the Gang of 8's "Border Surge" provisions are included, according to a press release released by the organizations.

The Corker-Hoeven amendment would double the size of the U.S. Border Patrol to 38,000 agents, mandate the construction of approximately 350 additional miles of border fencing, and appropriate $3 billion for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles and other surveillance technology in border communities.

A dozen Republican lawmakers have already indicated support and 54 Senate Democrats are likely to vote in support of the bill.

The so-called Senate "Gang of 8," which includes Arizona Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, has also endorsed the amendment.

The Senate is preparing for a test vote, which will take place Monday night. If adopted, the bill will be presented to the full Senate for an up-or-down vote by the end of the week.

Border Action Network claims that border communities have the most at stake in the outcome of the Senate vote.

"Already, ‘border enforcement' has tremendous impacts on all southern Arizona residents including immigrants, U.S. citizens and indigenous peoples, a news release states.

"In the past twenty years, the size of the Border Patrol has already grown more than five-fold, resulting in the steady erosion of environmental protection, human rights and civil liberties through checkpoints, surveillance, racial profiling and various other kinds of abuse," Border Action Network said.


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