For Immediate Release
[December 5th, therapist 2013]
Arivaca residents will rally to petition Border Patrol for the removal of the checkpoint on Arivaca Rd.
Rally kicks off campaign against the ongoing militarization of the Arivaca community
Amado, Arizona – On Sunday, December 8th at 2pm, Arivaca residents will arrive at the Border Patrol checkpoint on Arivaca Road en masse to peacefully deliver a petition. The petition authored by Arivaca residents calls for the immediate removal of the U.S. Border Patrol interior checkpoint, due to its negligible deterrent effects on immigration and the acute burden it places on the local community. Approximately one third of community residents, as well as several local businesses and organizations have signed the petition. Residents have formally invited Border Patrol Tucson Sector Chief Manuel Padilla to the checkpoint to receive the signed petition from the community.
Lying approximately 25 miles north of the physical border between the U.S. and Mexico, the BP checkpoint was first introduced in 2007 as a temporary security measure, but has been functionally permanent for the past 7 years, stopping and examining all who leave the area. The petition cites a number of negative impacts that the checkpoint has had on local life. These effects include: the regular profiling and harassment of local residents, the unlawful and sometimes aggressive searches of resident’s vehicles, diminishing tourism and property values in the area and the concerning long-term impact of children growing up interacting with armed agents at the checkpoint on their way to school.
Many residents have had upsetting and disturbing experiences at the checkpoint, such as one local woman who was detained at the checkpoint on her way to a doctor’s appointment. The woman, who had recently experienced a heart attack was held for over an hour in the hot sun, not permitted to sit, and denied water. As a local business owner, her store has also suffered from the decline in tourism caused by the checkpoint and she will be forced to close her doors at the end of the month. You can read more about resident’s experiences at the checkpoint here or view a video about living with BP checkpoints here.
The action will launch a campaign against the continual and escalating militarization of the Arivaca community. Participants hope that their efforts will speak to other border communities as near as Tubac and the Tohono O’odham Reservation, and as far as Falfurrias, Texas who also endure the negative impacts of Border Patrol inland checkpoints and border militarization.
WHAT: Rally to Deliver Petition
WHEN: SUNDAY December 8th at 2 PM
WHERE: Gather at noon at the Arivaca Community Center for a 1 PM Caravan or at 1 PM in the Cow Palace parking lot to converge on the checkpoint on foot from both sides at 2 PM
WHO: Arivaca community members and supporters from Amado, Green Valley, Tubac, Tucson and the surrounding areas.
For Immediate Release
[December 9th, 2013]
Over 100 deliver petition calling for the removal of the Border Patrol checkpoint on Arivaca Rd.
Successful start to campaign to demilitarize the area of Arivaca, ed Arizona.
Arizona – On Sunday, December 8 at 2pm, nearly 150 Arivaca residents and their supporters arrived at the Border Patrol checkpoint on Arivaca Road to deliver signed petitions calling for its immediate removal. In anticipation of the demonstration, Border Patrol shut down the checkpoint for the day, allowing vehicles and marchers to pass freely.
Residents had formally invited Tucson Sector Border Patrol Chief Manuel Padilla to receive the petition from the community, however Padilla did not appear. Instead, community members delivered the signed petition to attending Border Patrol Public Relations personnel and Station Watch Commander Stephen Spencer. Locals and their supporters then rallied in the secondary inspection area to share their experiences living under immigration enforcement checkpoints for more than seven years.
At the rally, local residents gave emotional speeches, including one by a 30-year Latina resident of Arivaca and naturalized U.S. citizen, who recounted the difficulty of being racially profiled by Border Patrol agents. The grandmother was subjected to aggressive questioning while on the way to visit her dying mother. “Nobody knows how it feels. Only the person that goes through there and has to deal with this… This situation is like a bad dream to me, like a nightmare, but it is a reality,” she said.
Lying approximately 25 miles north of the physical border between the U.S. and Mexico, the BP checkpoint was first introduced in 2007 as a temporary security measure, but has been functionally permanent for the past 7 years, stopping and examining all who leave the area. With negligible deterrent effects on immigration, residents say that the checkpoint has been an unreasonable burden for the local population.
“As far as we know, they don’t apprehend anybody at that checkpoint. All it does in terms of people crossing is force people to walk around it and increases suffering and deaths in the desert,” said one long-term resident.
Approximately 240 Arivaca residents have signed the petition, representing more than one third of the population of the small rural town. Ten Arivaca businesses, including local farms and restaurants, have signed on as well, citing the negative impacts that the checkpoint has had on business and tourism in the area.
The American Civil Liberties Union has been working with the local community to document rights violations at the Arivaca Road checkpoint. Attorney James Duff Lyall said that just this week the ACLU has received multiple complaints. “We’re received numerous reports of people being subjected to improper questioning, extended detentions, and unlawful searches,” Lyall said. “The picture that emerges is of an agency that views the community in which it operates with distrust and disrespect and systematically violates the rights of Arivaca residents.”
Arivaca residents marched from a mile south of the checkpoint while supporters from Amado, Green Valley, Tubac, Tucson and the surrounding communities marched from Amado, just north of the checkpoint. The two groups converged from either side, chanting “Check yourself BP, stop watching our community!”
“I think the campaign has emerged at this point because border communities are finally realizing that the federal government has basically written us off and designated us as collateral damage,” said one Arivacan. “We’re saying that we’re here, we don’t like it, that this can’t be a permanent way of life in this country; we’re objecting, and we’re organizing.”
The Arivaca community will now wait for a response to their petition from Sector Chief Padilla, which they expect to come from the agency early in the New Year.