Advancing Human Rights at the Northern Border

The Northern Border of the United States is 3,987 miles long, nearly twice the length of the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Of this, Washington State shares 427 miles of U.S.-Canada border, including four border crossings in Blaine, Lynden, and Sumas. It is the home to thousands of immigrants from Central and South America, Mexico, China, Russia, Asia, Canada and other counties. In the summer months, the population booms as thousands of migrant workers migrate North to fill agricultural jobs that support a vital part of Washington’s economy.

The erosion of rights following the events of 9/11 and the reframing of immigration enforcement as part of National Security, has led to a rise in human rights violations within immigrant communities in the Northern Border Region. Now, ten years later and with the passage of laws such as SB1070 in Arizona, across the nation there has been increased anti-immigrant sentiment, increased racial profiling, and discrimination along U.S. borders, and within communities of color.

Increased Federal funding for enforcement programs such as the Criminal Alien Program and border control are meant to “secure the U.S. borders,” however, the reality is that these programs are detaining increasing numbers of non-criminal undocumented immigrants who are not a threat to the U.S. The manner in which people are detained, as well as the lack of accountability around violations of human rights or racial profiling, has left immigrant communities living in fear of both local and federal law enforcement. Our lives are not segmented. This fear is interwoven into all areas of community life: children and families, education, health access, labor and jobs, and our faith communities.

Through community organizing, building organizational alliances, and human rights documentation, OneAmerica is working within immigrant communities to build power to advocate for immigrant, human, and civil rights in the area of the Northern Border and to change policy around racial profiling and harsh immigration enforcement that separates families and violates international conventions of Human Rights.

Goals:

  1. Address increased incidences of human rights violations in immigrant communities, especially in Washington’s northern counties: Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish
  2. To push for greater human rights accountability through an examination and reformation of policies around national security and immigration enforcement. 
  3. Through community organizing, leadership development, and human rights documentation, build leadership in immigrant communities to help them become stronger advocates for their civil and human rights.

 

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