LULAC Launches Immigrant Human Rights Movement at Border Summit

Immigration Debate to be Reframed

Contact: Gabriela D. Lemus, (202) 833-6130
For Immediate Release: December 7, 2000

Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Derechos Humanos Coalition/Arizona Border Rights Project are convening a border summit, "From Border to Border: Building a Human Rights Movement," this weekend, December 8-10. The Summit will bring together over 350 participants to address the growing human rights crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border and discuss three inter-related themes: globalization, immigration and the subsequent militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Over the past year, LULAC has been very active in bringing this terrible problem to the attention of policymakers in Washington, DC. LULAC is very concerned with the increase in civil rights abuses related to immigration issues along the border and has passed resolutions at both the state and national level to combat the mistreatment of foreign nationals occurring in the border region. Immigration policy and implementation needs to be fair and just.

"We have witnessed a dangerous precedent occurring on the U.S.-Mexico border that has gravely affected not only immigrants desperately trying to enter the United States, but the very border communities themselves," said Rick Dovalina, LULAC National President. "We believe that the actions taken by anti-immigrant groups against undocumented workers are a violation of their basic rights to be treated decently. The United States is a country where the rule of law and the Constitution guarantee their humane treatment, irrespective of their legal status."

The combination of global economic processes where fewer and fewer large corporations own more of the world's productive resources has created a concentration of power in the hands of a few. Dramatic surges in violence in areas of Latin America, combined with the disparities between the haves and have-nots, and U.S. economic prosperity and labor shortages have contributed to a new wave of immigration into the United States.

Border blockades begun in 1994 by the U.S. Border Patrol, such as "Operation Gatekeeper" and "Hold the Line," along with U.S. immigration policy enacted in 1996, have created a punitive environment for foreign workers. Operation Gatekeeper in particular has shifted the entry of people from areas of relative safety to areas that are less patrolled, but often more dangerous. Some 444 people have died since the implementation of the new Border Patrol policies.

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization in the United States. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health, and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide.

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