About 100 people today are staging a protest at the San Ysidro crossing of the U.S.-Mexico border to protest deportation policies they say are splitting families apart.
Young Mexican immigrants from California gathered on one side of the border while their families members still living in Mexico gathered on the other. In addition to calling for changes in immigration policies, the demonstrators want to draw attention to the increasing militarization along the border.
Today’s action builds on last week’s protest in Nogales, Arizona, that led to the detention of nine so-called Dreamers.
The San Ysidro entry point at the San Diego-Tijuana border is the world’s busiest “Land Port of Entry,” (LPOE) with 75,000 vehicles passing through daily. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, deports more undocumented Mexicans from the San Ysidro LPOE than any other place.
We asked three young immigrants involved in today’s protest why they are doing this:
“I’m Jose and I am 24 years old. I arrived from Zacatecas, Mexico at the age of 15. I feel lucky to be a legal permanent resident. I am taking part in the protest at the border because even though I am not personally affected by US immigration policy, the lives of my family members and hundreds of thousands of people in California are. Hard working people live in fear that one day they won’t make it home to their kids.
People are getting rich on the lives they disrupt, and the humans they displace. Private detention centers and prisons are making money by keeping our mothers locked up for “crimes” like jay walking and calling the police for help. This is not the “America” that I was taught to love. My partner, Jorge is undocumented. I am happy to be able to be part of this standing next to him. He inspires me and gives me strength.”
“My name is Jorge and I am from the San Fernando Valley. I came to the US at the age of five. I am undocumented. My three youngest siblings are US citizens, but my two older sisters and my parents don’t have papers. Today, I am taking a stance to support my parents who have lived in this country for over 21 years and are still weighed down by fear. For my father, it’s a state of paranoia. He hasn’t left the Valley in years – traveling from home to work and back.
It is because of my parents’ sacrifices that I have been able to study, graduate UCLA, find my own identity and grow to love this country. This past year, I was given the option of a path to citizenship, thanks to DACA. At the same time, it makes no sense that my parents who pay taxes, work eighty-hours a week and have raised six educated Californians are not given the opportunity to live as Americans.
It gives me comfort to know that I will not be making this stance alone. A wonderful man will stand next to me, and hold onto me, as we take this step.”
“My name is Edna and I was born in Guerrero, Mexico. When I was five-years old, I was brought to California. I am undocumented.
Today I want to stand close to the border. Why? Because the number of undocumented immigrants does not stop at the 11 million currently residing in the US. Just along the Tijuana / San Diego border, there are hundreds of thousands people in limbo. They have been taken from their homes in US and have been literally dumped at the border. Many don’t go back to their place of origin because they have not been there in decades. Their kids are American. The only opportunity they have to see and touch each other is when they visit at the fence along Friendship Park in San Diego while family members put their fingers through bars on the Tijuana side. Home is California.
I feel privileged to be undocumented in the US. I have a home. I qualify for DACA. At the same time, I want to highlight that I share a sense of displacement, as well as an emotional and economic limbo. This issue goes beyond US borders. It crosses into Mexico and across Central America.”