Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Violence at the Border

The local NPR station is operated by the University of Arizona, and probably like other NPR stations across the country, features segments on local news provided by local journalists. This morning the topic of discussion was increased violence on the border. There were interviews by a couple of sheriffs in the counties that rest alongside the line. Their comments highlighted their concern that over the recent years, they have seen a change in immigrant traffic from passive to aggressive.

I arrived at work before the segment was over and couldn't finish listening, but thought about that discussion throughout my day and the root causes of the increased tension. Apparently I was channeling the folks over at Derechos Humanos because one of their spokeswomen had this to say:
"The increase in militarization has turned smugglers more organized," said Kat Rodriguez, an organizer with Derechos Humanos, a Tucson group that tries to help migrants. "We've been successful at affecting where people cross, rather than how they do it."
It's a tough issue and reminds me abit about Iraq and the U.S. military presence there. The local insurgency is fighting against the occupiers (us) and rather than stand down, we're staying the course/beefing up our forces with continual soldier rotations, causing further escalation of the insurgency and tension.

The situation is mirrored in the borderlands. It's no coincidence that violence has increased as policy changes increase U.S. military presence across the desert southwest.
A Senate committee recommended doubling proposed funding for stationing National Guard troops on Arizona's southern border, but the bill could face strong opposition from the governor.

The Appropriations Committee voted 7-4 Tuesday to recommend approval of House Bill 2701. As passed by the House last month, the measure would appropriate $5 million from the state General Fund to the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to mobilize the Guard.

Some lawmakers have lobbied for troops at the border since the governor declared a state of emergency there last year in response to increased illegal immigration.

Unfortunately, the popular position among Americans involves "protecting the homeland" from "criminals and terrorists". The blame will once again be put on the victim of the failed policy of the aggressors. I feel a personal responsibility to lobby for the policies that take into account the human aspect of the people who choose to risk their lives to support their families back home.

There is a crisis, that much all sides agree on, and it's no surprise that their solution involves military power instead of a combination of diplomacy, economic relief and death minimalization. They rely on might, while the true liberal position involves human rights.

Crossposted at Migra Matters

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