Friday, December 27, 2013

Southern Arizona's Autumn of Resistance Against The Border Patrol and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

(originally published at  Border Wars)

          The Dream 9 in Nogales, Sonora   (photographer unknown)
Protest in Nogales, Sonora and Arizona on
anniversary of murder of José Antonio Elena Rodriguez

While southern Arizona continues to be ground zero for the most extreme measures of border militarization today, it is also home to powerful nodes of civil resistance. On December 8, local residents from Arivaca and the surrounding area held their first protest at a Border Patrol checkpoint—one out of about a dozen located throughout the region. The protest focused on one of many concerns shared by all the residents: the disruption of the checkpoint to their daily lives. I documented the event in the video posted below.
Though powerful in its own right, the protest was only the latest in a series of recent, high-profile actions across southern Arizona, ranging from civil disobedience to solidarity vigils:
The Dream 9, a group of undocumented youth who grew up in the United States but eventually returned to Mexico, reentered the United States on September 30 in Nogales, AZ as part of a public protest to challenge the unjust immigration system. The youth were detained and later released to face future immigration proceedings.

In Tucson, on October 11, police arrested more than 20 activists after they locked themselves down to buses carrying chained undocumented immigrants on their way to Operation Streamline—an immigration court that hands out prison sentences for reentry into the United States. Border Patrol and police have arrested and pepper-sprayed other activists trying to block deportations of undocumented immigrants.
On October 10, family, friends, and solidarity activists held a binational march and vigil along the border wall to denounce the complete impunity of the Border Patrol agents who gunned down 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a Mexican national killed as he walked down the street of his hometown Nogales, Sonora on October 10, 2012. José Antonio was the sixth Mexican citizen slain by the Border Patrol on Mexican soil since 2010.
Also in October, the 26-year-old southern Arizona resident Jill Lix posted a video that has since gone viral, showing her defying Border Patrol requests to search her car at a checkpoint. The video underscores the reality that has riled up so many in southern Arizona: not only the Border Patrol’s lack of professionalism, but also the nearly comical bungling of poorly trained agents facing someone who clearly knows her rights.
Stopping Operation Streamline in Tucson Oct. 11
(photo courtesy Blake Gentry)
Before we marched on the Border Patrol checkpoint located on Arivaca Road near Amado, AZ (about 30 miles north of Nogales), organizers informed us that the checkpoint had closed for the day in response to the protest—another small victory in southern Arizona’s autumn of resistance against the machinery of militarization and deportation.

Richard Boren is a freelance journalist based in the Arizona-Sonora borderlands. He blogs at The Hobo Dispatch (

In memory of José Antonio Elena Rodriguez and the
other innocent victims of the Border Patrol. 

 ( includes songs by Ted Warmbrand, Guardabarranco, and Victor Jara)

                                                      THE DEATH OF JOSE ANTONIO
                               AN OUTCRY FOR JUSTICE ON THE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER

Sunday, December 1, 2013

BLACK FRIDAY AT WALMART: Underpaid Workers Forced To Be Away From Their Families On Thanksgiving; Over 100 Arrested Outside Stores and Some Shoppers Brawl Inside

"Walmart employees and supporters protested in cities all across the country on Black Friday in opposition to Walmart’s low wages and poor treatment of workers. In some cases, protesters volunteered to engage in acts of civil disobedience and were arrested by police. Organizers expected 1,500 total protests in California, Alaska, New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington and Canada. In Secaucus, New Jersey, thirteen activists were arrested after sitting in the middle of the street to block traffic."
From The Nation, "Activists Are Arrested Protesting Walmart's Low Wages" by Allison Kilkenny, Nov. 29, 2013. To read the full article click on link below:
Activists Are Arrested Protesting Walmart's Low Wages

           Video of The Black Friday Protest At A Walmart in                                              Tucson, AZ organized by Jobs With Justice

   Video of Shoppers Resorting To Violence On 
Black Friday and Protests Around The Country

In 2008 a Walmart employee was killed by a consumer stampede on Black Friday, a tragic reminder of the dangers workers face even in a Walmart store. This report appeared on Democracy Now!