El Paso, TX—Today at noon, staff and volunteers from the Regional Center for Border Rights of the ACLU of New Mexico, Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project, and Equality New Mexico will form a Know Your Rights checkpoint at the Santa Fe port of entry in El Paso to inform individuals of their rights. The event is part of an ongoing, border-wide “Dignity Crossing” campaign.
Every day, thousands of drivers and pedestrians cross the international ports of entry in the El Paso sector, which includes all of New Mexico. Many may not be aware of their rights or don’t believe they have any. The campaign aims to remind individuals of their constitutional rights, document instances of abuse, and hold CBP agents and officers accountable.
“When CBP officers discriminate against, humiliate, treat with suspicion, or physically and verbally abuse citizens and non-citizens alike, they create a first impression of our country that runs contrary to our values of fairness, equality and justice,” says Cynthia Pompa, Field Organizer at the ACLU-NM Regional Center for Border Rights. “Mistreatment is not the welcome home treatment we deserve.”
Adds Jed Untereker, Executive Director at El Paso del Norte, “Everyone should be treated with dignity at our ports. We’re inviting individuals border-wide to tell us their story, know that they’re not alone, and join communities in the push for greater accountability and oversight of CBP.”
“The border region is home to tremendous cultural and economic exchange where we as workers, families, students, tourists, members of the LGBTQ community, and shoppers should be treated with dignity and respect,” says Myra Llerenas, Southern New Mexico Field Coordinator Equality New Mexico. “For many of us, crossing at our nation’s ports of entry is coming home, and we deserve a proper welcome.”
The “Dignity Crossing” campaign is an initiative of the Southern Border Communities Coalition’s ongoing efforts to Revitalize not Militarize border communities and aims to inform residents of how to protect their rights, speak up about abuses, and join efforts to demand reforms. Today’s Know Your Rights checkpoint is one of many coordinated this month along the border.