San Diego Group Rallies For Better Treatment Of Border Crossers
An immigrant-rights group critical of federal border authorities staged what they called a "Border Reality Checkpoint" at the San Ysidro crossing on Wednesday.
The group was protesting what they say are abuses that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents commit against those crossing the border legally.
The San Diego Immigration Rights Consortium sent 10 members to the border wearing orange safety vests and carrying clip boards. The group handed out fliers telling people of their rights. Some signed postcards calling for more accountability within Customs and Border Protection that will be sent to the White House. The group also wants better training and cameras to be worn by the agents.
"People are asking for basic dignity and respect, to not be treated as criminals," said Ricardo Favela, the group's communications director. "We've seen American citizens, we've seen migrants, different people who have experienced abuses, brutality and even fatalities due to excessive use of force."
Carlos Romero, a U.S. citizen who lives in Tijuana and commutes across the border into the San Diego every day for work, said he has been detained at the border 10 times in the past four months — all because someone with his same name committed a crime in Iowa.
"That's incredible how they do not do their job. They're saying it's our fault for living in Mexico. It's your fault because you're coming across," Romero said.
In a statement, Customs and Border Protection said the agency does "not tolerate corruption or abuse" within its ranks, and that "the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction."
Similar demonstrations to promote better treatment of border crossers were conducted in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.