Drones, Floating Bodies, and Border Security

Thanks to the good folks at Kingwood Area Democrats for featuring my lawyer-sister Toni Medellin and myself on the issue of immigration reform last night. While Toni provided some legal and legislative background, I did more of a political talk, while also delving a little deeper on the realities offered by Senate Bill 744. I can tell you this much, it wasn’t a talk in line with what Democrats in DC are selling the people of the US of A.

It seems like both political sides continue their individual mantras of support vs opposition. (I mean, just check out Rep. Weber’s description of immigrants in this video.) Dems and pro-migrant  folks (and John McCain) talk about the political ramifications of CIR if the GOP doesn’t support it, or the economic impact of CIR, with the hopes that the other side will have some surprise buy-in. Frankly, it has tired me out, especially when our political leaders say S.744 is “not perfect,” yet should be he law of the land. The reality is that S.744 is as imperfect as they come–all sections of it. My colleague Dr. Rey Guerra began a series yesterday where he will be breaking apart S.744.

I have yet to hear from any Democrat or national “pro-migrant” group that has bought into the worst of S.744, the $46 billion border surge, a good reason to support S.744, as is. I mean, besides the selling point that it’s the only way Republicans would support it. 68 votes in the Senate later and the House Republicans are showing how much they care, especially their leader, the Boehner. All this talk of bipartisanship as a result of the border surge is a grim reminder of the human realities of “border security.”

Even Rep. Michael McCaul found out the grim reality of “border security” when the body of a Honduran migrant floated by him on the Rio Grande during another one of his fact-finding missions.

“My colleagues and I saw first hand the tragedies of this border and the loss of life when we saw a body floating just a few minutes ago on this river,” McCaul said. “And that is a sad fact of this border.”

Instead of backing away from “border security,” McCaul chooses to double-down.

His measure describes a list of metrics that homeland security officials would have to report to Congress, which would be used to determine what sort of resources work and what is needed where.

“Fencing alone is not going to solve this problem, it’s got to be a comprehensive strategy, a variety of assets whether they be fixed towers, mobile towers, (Defense Department) assets from Afghanistan, aviation assets to see on the ground what’s happening,” McCaul said. “Only by doing that can we really calculate with metrics if we’re being successful.”

The record number of bodies found in all border sectors is an indication that “border security” kills. Again, I’m reminded of my friend Roberto Lovato’s article, “Breathing in Our Dead…” about his trip to the Pima County Morgue’s freezer.

In the fight to end border militarization and what activists in Tucson and other border states call the “border overkill” at the heart of comprehensive immigration reform, nothing in Tucson or anywhere else matches the persuasive power of the smells emanating from the stiff, dehydrated and decomposing dreams stored in white body bags…

Perhaps McCaul and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle should pay a visit to Pima County, AZ and take a whiff of the effects of that which they so adamantly want and support.

It can’t be that those “non-lethal” weaponized drones Del Bosque at the Texas Observer tells us about are the only answer.

Although the Republicans are very much practicing the art of delay and kill when it comes to immigration reform, this recess is an opportunity for immigration activists to lobby their members of Congress against border overkill and militarization, and perhaps a better path to citizenship. The horror which Chuck Schumer has created in pushing Corker-Hoeven can still be fixed if our elected officials would just show an ounce of leadership, rather than political expediency.

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