The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.,
NW Washington, DC 20500
November 19, 2014
Dear President Obama,
We write as a united coalition joining representatives of border communities and the broader immigrants’ rights movement to urge you not to link vitally-needed administrative action protecting immigrants from deportation with further militarization of the borders. Customs and Border Protection is an agency in crisis: CBP urgently needs a surge in accountability and oversight, not increased Border Patrol personnel or war equipment. You should not waste more money on the border-industrial complex. Instead, you should commit to best law enforcement practices for CBP, like: agency-wide use of body-worn cameras; robust custody standards; and an end to CBP interior enforcement including checkpoints, roving patrols, and the boarding of public transit to ask for papers far from any border (this occurs daily throughout the 100-mile zone of CBP operations that flout constitutional protections).
Adding border enforcement resources as part of your immigration announcement would send a wrong and unjust message to border communities. While enthusiastically welcoming an end to deportation fears among some of our neighbors, friends, and family, border communities cannot tolerate more of the same damaging policies that have vastly over-resourced CBP while failing to invest in accountability. Because of a lack of oversight, CBP personnel frequently abuse people they are sworn to protect and treat humanely, many of whom encounter CBP personnel daily as they go to work, attend school, or run one of life’s daily errands.