1.27.2006

Response To Chertoff

Jan. 26, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In response to Secretary Michael Chertoff's statement released Jan. 25, 2006, concerning the distribution of informational maps in Mexico:

The United States has now answered the questions "Who is my neighbor?" and "Am I my brother's keeper?" in a shameful and deadly way. To deny children life-saving information in the perverse name of national security is a sin.

Secretary Chertoff has confirmed once again that the U.S. does not care about its neighbors to the south. National Security has become a form of narcissistic self-love, used to pressure other nations into consistent violations of fundamental human rights.

One of the most basic levels of ethics is informed consent. Any nation that denies children information about their health status, environments, or future is guilty of child abuse.

The maps created by Humane Borders have been already systematically deployed along our border for nearly one year.

If the maps were an invitation to cross the border, why did Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Customs and Border Protection report that crossings were down in this area in the past year? Could it be that these numbers are political as in years past, or could it be because of our maps? We make no claims on how effective our maps have been or will be, but it is immoral to deny access to the information we provide.

Our collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission in Mexico should have been applauded. Instead, commission and NGO's on both sides of the border are being bullied.

Now that the U.S. has once again pressured Mexico into another form of submission, Humane Borders will continue to share the life-saving information we have compiled. In fact, what has already been distributed is sufficient for the task.

Through the internet, media outlets and churches in the Western Hemisphere, potential migrants will be informed of the possible dangers of crossing the Arizona border in the simple attempt to save human lives as has been requested by the U.S. Border Patrol on multiple occasions. More than 1000 migrants have died in Arizona in 5 years. Countless have suffered.

This nation cannot into debate about comprehensive immigration reform without considering the human cost and the image of the U.S. in the world. The policies of the U.S. result in hundreds of thousands of people being herded down death trails. Even the architects of the current failed policies say this is wrong.

The Mexico-U.S. migration is the largest in the world. Academics tell U.S. that the U.S. has not reduced on average the number of migrants illegally crossing the border by even one person each year. The result of increased law enforcement is simply that migrants have chosen to cross more deadly areas.

Faith-based support has been received through emergency relief funds from The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), the United Methodist Church and multiple Roman Catholic institutions and numerous congregational gifts from all over the U.S. to support this life-saving ministry.

Humane Borders and the many faith communities that support migrant safety and basic human rights understand that Mexico is our neighbor and that we are our brother's keeper. According to Matthew 25, when we have not provided water to our neighbor, we have not provided it to our Lord, Jesus Christ.