The Main Stream

Jun 24, 2013 8:22 PM by Erika Flores

Immigration reform activists speak out about border surge

TUCSON - Humanitarian groups from across Southern Arizona are speaking out against Senators Bob Corker and John Hoeven's amendment to the immigration reform bill.

It's something immigration reform activists have been waiting for, but there's a crucial part of the bill that they just can't agree with.

It includes doubling the presence of agents at the border and extending the fence.

Armed with signs, humanitarians and immigration reform activists from across Southern Arizona advocate for an immigration reform, but without senators Bob Corker and John Hoeven's amendment.

The activists said adding more border agents and extending the border will only make matters worse.
Eliezar Catellanos said he has friends who have crossed the border through the desert.

"They're going through rough areas where agents don't even want to go because it is just so isolated, but the immigrants are determined to come here and go through there," said Castellanos.

He said more agents will not stop them.

"In order to have a better life, they're determined to cross any border," said Castellanos.

Norma Price said more border agents concentrating on illegal crossers is not the answer.

"If you allow the people to come who just want to work, than the only ones out in the desert are the cartels and the dangerous people, and they can concentrate on that," said Norma Price with Tucson Samaritans.

Border Action Network's Juanita Molina said illegal crossers can play a big role in catching cartel members.

"They could be witnesses to these crimes, and are the ones who have the most information about the cartels and at the same time we criminalize them to the point where we don't even have a relationship with those witnesses," said Molina.

Those in favor of the amendment argue that the border isn't secured especially in rural areas.

"I absolutely believe the border needs to be secured and it would be good to put extra agents on," said Pat Sexton, president of Arizona Latino Republican Association.

But she does not agree with the rest of the bill.
"If the senators that are in this are going to pass this, it's like a slap in the face to all of us that did it legally," said Sexton.

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