Jeff Ordower, Markel Bilbao-Mate, Jeff@globalexchange.org, email@example.com, 314-267-4664, 202-403-4391
Issued April 28, 2017
El Paso, TX– The Caravan Against Fear makes its final stop along the Southern border on April 29 before the National Shutdown on May 1. Over the last three weeks, janitors, security officers, and airport workers based in the United States but born in the US, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Haiti, have come together with groups working on the other side of the southern border and with families of the disappeared to highlight conditions for migrant workers and people on the border. The Caravan has been a historic journey through California and across the southern border region all the way to Corpus Christi and the McAllen area, with “Caraveneros” learning firsthand local organizations’ and residents’ struggles. Many of the participants are affiliated with SEIU/United Service Workers West.
At each stop, local organizers have hosted the participants, educating them about their organizations, their role in protecting immigrant’s rights, and engaging in nonviolent direct action to protest reactionary elected officials and hateful legislation.
“We traveled to learn what’s happening at the border and spread a message of hope to fight back the fear,” said Maria Trujillo, janitor from the Bay area who emigrated from Mexico with her kids years ago. “Everyone back at home needs to know what families are going through at the border.”
Over the last three weeks, there have been actions involving seven different members of Congress, four sheriffs, including eight arrests at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office, and two visits to communities besieged by border patrol checkpoints in Arizona and New Mexico.
“We want working families at the border to know we have their backs,” said Kawana Anderson, a security officer from Los Angeles. “As an African-American woman I know what’s to live constantly harassed. We are here to tell everyone that we are together, we are strong, we will beat fear.”
The El Paso event is expected to gather hundreds of community members, immigrant rights advocates and allies and elected officials, followed by a dramatic May 1 shutdown. Most members of the Caravan will participate in Los Angeles.
Background on Caravan Against Fear
Led by dozens of workers and activists, the Caravan Against Fear aims to put pressure on legislators to pass expansive sanctuary policies for all, refuse to cooperate with ICE, withhold funding for deportations or border wall construction, and restore constitutional protections to people living along the border.
The Caravan began on April 10 in Northern California and traveled throughout California to advance state legislation to protect immigrant workers and families. It has held demonstrations at detention centers in Richmond and Adelanto; denounced sheriffs in Kern, Fresno and Los Angeles counties who collaborate with ICE; and stormed the offices of Republican federal and state legislators who refuse to support California’s immigrant communities.
In Arizona and New Mexico, the Caravan met and shared stories with border communities, including Arivaca, Arizona, and Chaparral, New Mexico – communities completely encircled by border patrol checkpoints. It also joined local activists to protest the anti-immigrant policies of U.S. Representative Martha McSally in Tucson and to push for a sanctuary resolution in Las Cruces, New Mexico. And its members were honored to be received by tribal leaders of the Tohono O'Odham nation in Topawa, Arizona, to discuss their opposition to Trump’s border wall.
Prior to arriving in El Paso, the Caravan joined immigrants’ rights defenders in Austin to oppose SB4, met with community members in Houston to march against deportations and family separation, held a candlelight vigil outside the offices of U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold in Corpus Christi, walked the along the border with LUPE in Hidalgo, and met with LULAC in Laredo.
The Caravan is supported by a diverse coalition of more than 230 labor, community, human rights, religious, civic, and environmental organizations, including: SEIU (United Service Workers West), National Day Labor Organizing Network, Border Network for Human Rights, Southern Border Communities Coalition, Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance, Radio Bilingüe, Global Exchange, Border Action Network, and dozens of other organizations in both the U.S. and Mexico.