Along bor­der, a grow­ing op­po­si­tion to mil­i­tary de­ploy­ment

Imperial Valley Press - - LOCAL&REGION - BY ASTRID GAL­VAN

PHOENIX — Amy Juan drove two hours north from her re­mote com­mu­nity on the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der in Ari­zona to rally against the de­ploy­ment of troops there.

She’s one of many res­i­dents of the South­west who op­pose and are speak­ing out against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­ploy­ment of over 5,000 mil­i­tary troops to the bor­der to fend off a slow-mov­ing car­a­van of Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants headed to the U.S.

In El Paso, Texas, a march is planned to protest the de­ploy­ment this week­end. In Laredo, the city’s mayor re­leased a state­ment re­fer­ring to the de­ploy­ment as “false ef­forts” that will “harm morale and dam­age the econ­omy of our re­gion.”

“Even though our com­mu­ni­ties are all very dif­fer­ent and di­verse, we all ex­pe­ri­ence the same thing, which are the ef­fects of mil­i­ta­riza­tion at the bor­der,” said Juan, who was one of sev­eral speak­ers at a news con­fer­ence in Phoenix on Thurs­day.

“Hav­ing an in­creased pres­ence of mil­i­tary is scary, you know. It’s scary.”

Juan is a mem­ber of the To­hono O’odham Na­tion, which sits on about 75 miles along the in­ter­na­tional bor­der. Res­i­dents of the reser­va­tion have long had a com­pli­cated re­la­tion­ship with the U.S. Bor­der Pa­trol, and its lead­er­ship has been vo­cal about its op­po­si­tion to the pres­i­dent’s plans for a bor­der wall.

“I find the fact that the mil­i­tary is be­ing de­ployed ab­so­lutely ter­ri­fy­ing. The amount of mil­i­ta­riza­tion that we al­ready ex­pe­ri­ence on a daily ba­sis and that we are cur­rently liv­ing un­der is like liv­ing in a wak­ing night­mare,” said Eva Lewis, a res­i­dent of the small town of Ari­vaca just north of the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der.

Many res­i­dents of Ari­vaca have spent years bat­tling the Bor­der Pa­trol’s check­points, which re­quire ev­ery­one who cross them to stop and de­clare whether they are cit­i­zens.

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