Category Archives: border fence

Brewed Awakening: Serving fair trade coffee, tea and speakers to stir the social conscience

Check out this Wednesday night speaker series sponsored by my friend and colleague Jamie Gates, at Point Loma Nazarene University. Critical analysis of social issues and smart conversation from a faith perspective.

Sponsored by Point Loma Nazarene University’s Center for Justice and Reconciliation, the Brewed Awakening series gives a platform to speakers who bring critical analysis of pressing contemporary social issues while pointing to ways of engaging these issues with hopeful alternatives.  The Brewed Awakening series showcases individuals and organizations with keen insight as well as practical ways of getting people involved.  Special attention is given to Christians who are engaged in the struggle for justice and reconciliation.  All speakers are encouraged to reflect on the relationship between their passion for justice, their actions and their faith.

Wednesday, February 9
Colt Forum, Point Loma Nazarene University
7pm (6:30 coffee)
Friendship at the Border: Developing a cross-border peace park in San Diego/Tijuana
Friends of Friendship Park,
Located where the US-Mexico border meets the Pacific Ocean, Friendship Park is a unique venue of great historical significance. It has served as the centerpiece of California’s Border Field State Park since its inauguration by then-First Lady Pat Nixon in 1971. PLNU has co-sponsored the annual advent celebration La Posada sin Fronteras at the park for the past 8 years.  Recent changes to the border fence have marred Friendship Park and destroyed the space as a place where families divided by nations can freely gather.  Friends of Friendship Park is calling for a restoration of Friendship Park both for the sake of cross-border friends and families and as a symbol of hope for more peaceful times.

Tuesday, March 15
Colt Forum, Point Loma Nazarene University
7pm (6:30 coffee)
Modern Abolitionists: Border interceptions in the 21st century slave trade
Jenna Hudlow, Tiny Hands International,

Tiny Hands is a Christian non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the church in the developing world to help the poor overcome poverty and become lights of the world.  We are committed to finding the greatest injustices in the world, and working towards relieving them however possible.  We are particularly called to orphans, street children, and the victims of the sex-trafficking industry. We want to find those who are already doing the work, who are called and faithful, and help them do it in greater ways and with more efficiency. We do it all in obedience to, and for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, April 12
Colt Forum, Point Loma Nazarene University
7pm (6:30 coffee)
Sabbath-Jubilee Economics: Putting radical Biblical economics into practice
Ched Myers, Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries,

In the story of the poor man Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52), Mark’s gospel gives us an archetypal portrait of the journey from “blindness” to faith (relief sculpture left by Charles McCollough). We believe that Christians should stand for compassion and equity, and against all forms of oppression and violence in these difficult times. To do this we must face our personal and political blindness to the realities of human suffering, as well as to God’s horizons of justice. Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries is a group of believers committed to revisioning the relationship between the Word and our world, in order to help animate and build capacity for communities of discipleship and justice.

For more information, contact Dr. Jamie Gates, 619.849.2659 or .

Learn more about the Center for Justice and Reconciliation at

For directions to the university, call 619.849.2200 or go to


Friends of Friendship Park to Unveil Alternative Design to Assure Dignified and Humane Public Access to Border Park

Coalition Deems Border Patrol Plans Inadequate and Inhumane

WHEN: Wednesday, February 9, 5:30 p.m.
WHAT: Press Conference Unveiling of Proposed Design for Friendship Park
WHERE: Marina Vista Community Center, 1075 8th St., Imperial Beach CA

The Friends of Friendship Park Coalition will unveil their alternative architectural design for San Diego’s historic border park in a press conference at the beginning of a public outreach Open House scheduled by San Diego Border Patrol on Wednesday evening, February 9.

Working collaboratively with the Friends of Friendship Park, celebrated San Diego architect James Brown, principal at Public Art & Architecture (, has developed a proposal for Friendship Park that would celebrate bi-national friendship as a necessary part of true security.

“Jim Brown’s design for Friendship Park aptly captures the essence of bi-national friendship, while addressing every legitimate security concern that San Diego Border Patrol officials have shared with us across months of consultations,” stated John Fanestil, Executive Director at the San Diego-based Foundation for Change and a leader in the coalition.

At present Friendship Park features security infrastructure and arbitrary enforcement practices resulting in public confusion about whether and how the public can visit the park. A limited public access area created by San Diego Border Patrol has offered park visitors an experience that many liken to visiting someone in jail.

Formerly, families from San Diego, Riverside and Los Angeles would come to the park to visit with family members who had often traveled for days from the interior of Mexico for a family reunion. The present arrangement prevents families like these – and other visitors to the park – from comfortably talking with each other. Family members, who sometimes have not seen each other in years, are routinely turned away after a 30-minute visit.

San Diego Border Patrol will have on display at the Open House proposed modifications to the park which do nothing to address these problems. In addition, Border Patrol plans would place the Boundary Monument – an historic marker recognizing the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo at the end of the U.S.-Mexico War – on the south side of the border fence, leaving it inaccessible to the U.S. public.

“Proposals coming from San Diego Border Patrol continue to violate the spirit of Friendship Park,” stated Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee and a leader in the coalition. “By ensuring that visitors can see each other, touch each other and converse freely in a dignified and orderly manner, our coalition’s proposal honors the original purpose of this historic border park.”

Click here for a slideshow of Friendship Park


John Fanestil,, 619-823-6223
Jill Holslin,, (619) 804-8030
Jim Brown,, (619) 682-4083

The Friends of Friendship Park is a coalition of leaders and organizations promoting orderly and dignified public access to Friendship Park, San Diego’s historic park on the US-Mexico border.
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New video on borders & migration: “We Are One”

In July 2009, I met a group of French filmmakers from Marseilles at a border wall event at the Centro Cultural de la Raza.  The filmmakers–Romain de l’Ecotais, Maxime Rostan and Guillaume Vidal–had been traveling for weeks through Latin America & Mexico, documenting border walls and migrations in the Americas.  In San Diego, they traversed the border with Enrique Morones of Border Angels, and visited the cemetery for migrants in Holtville and later took a tour down to Friendship Park.

Today they sent me a link to their video, titled We Are One, a King Size Trip Production, with music by Watcha Clan.

Border Walls versus Environmental Justice

Contributed by No Border Wall 4 February 2011

In 1994 President Clinton issued Executive Order 12898 to address the issue of Environmental Justice. It instructs federal agencies to identify and address actions that might have “disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects… on minority populations and low-income populations.” EO 12898 remains in effect today, but in building border walls the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has chosen to ignore it.

Since the passage of the Secure Fence Act around 650 miles of border wall have been built, slicing though towns, farms, and natural areas. Southern border states have rates of poverty that are significantly higher than the national average. In 2009 Arizona had the second highest poverty rate in the nation, New Mexico had the third highest, and Texas came in seventh. Within these states communities along the border tend to be the poorest. The 2007 list of 10 counties with the lowest median incomes in the nation included the Texas border counties of El Paso, Hidalgo, and Cameron, all three of which now have border walls.

Rather than act to minimize the border wall’s impacts on these communities, DHS used the Real ID Act to waive 36 federal laws. The Safe Drinking Water Act, Farmland Protection Policy Act, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and other laws that protect the rest of the nation no longer protect border communities. Equal protection under the law does not apply to those who live along the border.

This has led to a host of negative impacts on border communities. The economic impacts of land condemnation and damage to family farms have hit economically disadvantaged communities. Walls have cause severe flooding in Lukeville, Arizona, and across the border in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, where two people drowned. In Texas wetlands have been destroyed, and construction has caused serious erosion, further degrading the Rio Grande, which is the source of drinking and irrigation water for border residents.

In documents released before wall construction began, DHS stated that each of the Texas communities living in the path of the wall, “meets these two criteria [high percentages of minority and low-income residents] as a potential environmental justice population.” DHS went on to claim, however, that “the Secretary’s waiver means that CBP no longer has any specific obligation under Executive Order (EO) 12898.” While the first statement is backed by census data, the claim that DHS is not bound by the executive order is false, because the executive order was not listed among the 36 laws that DHS waived. But the assertion has meant that little effort has gone into lessening the impacts of border walls on border communities, or including them in decision-making.

South Texas Communities

To build border walls the federal government filed condemnation lawsuits against more than 400 Texas landowners, in communities that are 85 – 90% Hispanic and have rates of poverty that are more than twice the state average.

In Hidalgo and Cameron counties, where border walls were built along existing levees, homes, businesses, farms, and privately-owned nature preserves have been cut in two, or even walled off entirely, trapped between the border wall and the Rio Grande.

DHS has only to paid for the exact footprint of the border wall (typically, a 60-foot wide strip) as it passes through a parcel of land. The agency has completely discounted the hardships that the border wall will bring to landowners, such as the devaluation of contiguous property, access to farm land and homes, and impacts on livelihood.

In south Texas there are 21 separate border walls, totaling 70 linear miles, with wide gaps between sections. Border residents noticed that walls tended to be built through the lands of low-income families, but stopped abruptly at the property line of landowners such as the Hunt family, who, coincidentally, donated millions for the construction of the Bush Presidential Library.

Researchers from the University of Texas who examined this determined, “Our comparison of the areas planned to be fenced along the border with those areas where ‘gaps’ in the fence are planned suggests disproportionate impact on individuals with lower income and education, Hispanic ethnicity and non-U.S. citizenship status.”

Tohono O’odham Nation

The Tohono O’odham nation in Southern Arizona is split by 75 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, with 1,500 out of 20,000 tribal members living south of the line. As in many Native American nations poverty is widespread. According to the 2000 census the average income on the reservation was $8,137, compared to a national average of $26,940. Life expectancy was eight years less than the national average.

Speaking before a U.S. House of Representatives hearing on the border wall, O’odham Chairman Ned Norris Jr. said, “We are older than the international boundary with Mexico and had no role in creating the border. But our land is now cut in half, with O’odham communities, sacred sites, salt pilgrimage routes, and families divided.”

Chairman Norris went on to state that, with the waiving of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, “… fragments of human remains were observed in the tire tracks of heavy construction equipment. Barriers and the border road now cross the site.”

“Imagine a bulldozer parking in your family graveyard, turning up bones. This is our reality.”

Chairman Norris concluded, “We know from our own experience living on the border that security can be improved while respecting the rights of tribes and border communities, while fulfilling our duty to the environment and to our ancestors, and without granting any person the power to ignore the law.”

Posted By Blogger to No Border Wall at 2/03/2011 06:41:00 PM

See also

No Border Wall

Border Wall in the News

Immigrant rights and environmental organizations come together on issues of immigration

Sierra Club unites with Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

November 2, 2010

Contact: Bill Chandler, MIRA, (601) 968-5183

Sean Sullivan, Sierra Club Borderlands Team, (520) 250-9040

JACKSON, MS – At this year’s 5th annual Unity Conference, sponsored by the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA) and Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Sierra Club will add environmental issues to the lineup. The conference, being held in on November 4-5, 2010 at the Cabot Lodge Millsaps in Jackson, MS, is the largest gathering in the state that focuses on immigrant and worker rights and Black/Brown Unity. For the 5th year, MIRA and SCLC come together to analyze our common struggles and plan for the future.

“While the Sierra Club is neutral on immigration, we have never been neutral on environmental destruction.” says Sean Sullivan, Co-Chair of the Sierra Club Borderlands Team and Jackson resident. The Sierra Club will be hosting a photo exhibit which depicts how the land, wildlife, and people of the borderlands are being negatively impacted by newly constructed border walls. Entrance to the exhibit is free of charge and be open for viewing 5:30pm – 8:30pm Nov 2 – Nov 4 and from 9:00am – 9:00pm on Nov 5 during the Unity Conference.

Bill Chandler, Executive Director of MIRA is pleased with the Sierra Club’s participation. “The Unity Conference welcomes the efforts of the Sierra Club to shed light on the reckless and destructive border polices wreaking havoc on the US-Mexico border. Walls have not stopped people from coming here to work, the walls forced people to shift where they cross to remote areas resulting the deaths of thousands of people in the desert.”, says Chandler.

Since 1995, the number of border-crossing deaths increased and by 2005 had more than doubled. More than 5,000 migrants have died from dehydration and exposure. It is estimated that thousands of undiscovered bodies lie undiscovered along the border.

“To address this complicated issue, we need to look at the root causes of migration. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced as a result of so-called free trade agreements like NAFTA. Small farmers in central Mexico cannot compete with government subsidized corn flowing south from big agri-business. These farmers are then forced to the Mexican border, to work in unsafe and environmentally hazardous factories. These types of agreements are not sustainable and must be re-examined.”, says Sullivan.

Chandler added, “it is refreshing to see a national environmental organization like the Sierra Club take this kind of stand on immigration issues. Too often nativist groups have tried to hide their xenophobic views behind environmental values.”

This year, we celebrate MIRA’s 10 years of advocacy, and look ahead to unique challenges and opportunities in the upcoming year, including the 2011 legislative cycle, redistricting, and the national immigration reform debate. The conference serves as the meeting ground for over 150 community organization leaders, activists, and volunteers; elected and appointed officials; members of the corporate, philanthropic, and academic communities; senior citizens; college students; and youth. Speakers will include: Maria Jimenez from Texas, Isabel Garcia, Arizona immigrant rights leader, and Bill Fletcher, Jr., a leading civil rights and labor leader in the AFL-CIO from Washington, D.C.

La Posada at border fence Dec 13, 2009

From the San Diego Union Tribune

Monday, December 14, 2009

by J. Harry Jones

U-T Multimedia: For a slide show of La Posada at the border, go to Posada sin Fronteras Photos by Peggy Peattie

IMPERIAL BEACH — Faith groups from the United States and Mexico gathered yesterday afternoon at Border Field State Park in what was both a religious celebration and a political statement.

The 16th annual La Posada Sin Fronteras was a re-enactment of the biblical story of Mary and Joseph, who were forced to seek shelter after the birth of Christ and were eventually welcomed into a stranger’s home. Participants from both countries compared the biblical tale to the struggle migrants face trying to enter the United States.

One of the messages of the story, the idea of welcoming strangers — and immigrants — is under attack in our times, making the binational celebration even more significant, organizers said. Today, families on both sides of the border are separated by immigration policy and can no longer meet, even at the border fence, organizers said.

This was the first time the celebration was held since a second border fence was constructed earlier this year. The participants were not allowed to touch or exchange gifts with those who had gathered in Mexico for the celebration.

About 150 people, including many members of the media, gathered on the Mexico side of the fence, while on the U.S. side about half that number were present.

U.S. Border Patrol agents allowed 25 people at a time to go through the first fence to the Friendship Monument, which is situated to the north of the Tijuana bullfighting ring and a lighthouse. The remainder were forced to stay back behind the second fence, roughly 100 feet away.

“I want to remind you that while there are few people here, there are many watching and praying,” said Tijuana’s Roman Catholic Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz, speaking from Mexico. “Many are praying for friendship and solidarity between our two countries.”

Veterans of earlier celebrations remembered how people would share tacos, hold hands and exchange trinkets through the fence.

“This is a sad occasion on this beautiful winter day,” said Christian Ramirez of the American Friends Service Committee from the U.S. side. “We friends are not allowed to touch each other or exchange food and candy as in the past. This is ridiculous. This is the promise of change we heard a year ago?”

Along the outer fence, dozens of luminarias were set up and lighted at dusk. Each bag, containing a lighted candle, represented a migrant killed while trying to cross the border. Many of the dead were young, and most were identified only as “unknown male.”

One of the organizers of the first Posada Without Borders in 1993 was Roberto Martinez, the migrant activist who died earlier this year. Ramirez said Martinez is “greatly missed” and was undoubtedly looking down on all yesterday afternoon.

Those on the U.S. side had to hike through mud and then on the beach for about two miles because the main road to the friendship monument was flooded. Few seemed to mind the inconvenience.

During the gathering, Christmas carols were sung in both English and Spanish. Although Americans were not allowed to give anything to the Mexicans, at one point bundles of candy came flying over the fence from the Mexico side.

J. Harry Jones: (760) 737-7553;

King David’s Wall by SonicAnta, Tucson

Two Musicians playing the wall, accompanied by U.S. Border Patrol on helicopter