Brownsville, Texas - CBP Chief of Staff Marco Lopez, CBP Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs Maria Luisa O'Connell, Border Patrol and CBP officials and representatives from more than a dozen border organizations gathered today in a small, all-day meeting at the University of Texas at Brownsville.
The parties at this meeting wish to release the following statement:
"Today in Brownsville, representatives from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, representatives of civil rights and human rights groups, and community members from the U.S.-Mexico border area participated in a dialogue on topics related to border communities.
This meeting underscores the commitment of the Department of Homeland Security to facilitate dialogue between community representatives and officials about specific practices that affect migrants and border residents. It also represents the resolve and efforts of community groups along the U.S./Mexico border to engage with federal law enforcement officials in a proactive way to find common solutions to the issues of civil and human rights, community security, and national security.
Participants in this first engagement look forward to regular dialogue between border communities and CBP and we all hope to continue this conversation at another meeting in the coming weeks."
The organizations involved were, the Border Network for Human Rights (El Paso, Texas/Southern New Mexico); the U.S.-Mexico Border and Immigration Task Force; American Friends Service Committee (San Diego); Colonias Development Council (Las Cruces, N.M.); La Union del Pueblo Entero (San Juan, Texas); Border Action Network (Tucson, Ariz.); Casa de Proyecto Libertad (Harlingen, Texas); Escondido Human Rights Committee (San Diego); Humane Borders Advocates (Tucson, Ariz.); San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium; Immigration Forum (Washington, D.C.); Frontera de Cristo (Douglas, Ariz./Agua Prieta, Mexico); No More Deaths (Tucson, Ariz.); ACLU New Mexico; ACLU San Diego; Texas, Rio Grande Legal Aid, Inc.; South Texas Immigration Council; The South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (Harlingen); and San Diego AILA/IRC.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.