ARIZONA/SONORA: CPT Leads delegation to Washington to advocate for immigration reform

CPTnet
22 September 2005

ARIZONA/SONORA: CPT Leads delegation to Washington to advocate for
immigration reform

On September 14-16 CPT Arizona/Sonora led a delegation of CPTers and local
partner groups to Washington, DC to advocate for comprehensive immigration
reform. The delegation of eighteen held over seventy-five individual
meetings with Congressional staff. They also held a public briefing at New
York Avenue Presbyterian Church. Most of the delegation members had
extensive experience working in the Arizona border regions and were able to
share with Congressional staff personal stories illustrating the crisis of
migrant suffering and death in the desert.

The delegates presented a message to Congressional staff that U.S. policy
militarizing border regions is a failed policy resulting in the current
crisis. Militarization has not led to decreased migrant flows into the
United States. Instead, it has forced migrants to cross the border at more
remote, less militarized regions, leading to death and suffering. In
addition, it has created a "siege" atmosphere in border towns, where
residents live in fear of harassment and racial profiling.

Delegates expressed their support for an employment-based immigration reform
that would acknowledge the value of immigrant labor in our economy by
providing temporary work visas to undocumented immigrants already residing
in the U.S. as well as to future of migrants. Temporary work visas should
also provide a path to future permanent residency and allow for migrant
families to remain united. Delegates further asked the Congressional
staffers to recognize that the root causes of migration lie in economic and
trade inequalities, and that migrants are crossing the border to fill
available jobs in the U.S. and build a sustainable life for themselves and
their families. The delegates' message is summarized in the Faith-Based
Principles for Immigration Reform, which are available at
http://www.nomoredeaths.org.

Other groups represented in the delegation were No More Deaths, of Tucson,
AZ, Frontera de Cristo, of Douglas, AZ, and Healing Our Borders, also of
Douglas, AZ. CPTers on the delegation were Carol Rose, Mark Frey, Elizabeth
Garcia, Dwayne Wenger-Hess, and Kim Lamberty.