Immigration activists join Occupy protests in El Paso
Occupy El Paso is gaining in numbers, as more individuals flock to San Jacinto Plaza to protest economic inequality, corporate greed, and unfair immigration policies. (Facebook)
Activists for immigration reform on Tuesday joined Occupy protests in downtown El Paso, Texas, in an effort to show solidarity with those who value people over money, a spokeswoman for the group said.
The move was the culmination of a daylong event in which the Border Network for Human Rights, an advocacy group with more than 7,000 members in Texas and New Mexico, denounced the deaths of friends and relatives as a result of drug war violence in Mexico, as well as deportation policies in the U.S.
The event coincided with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations in Mexico.
At an afternoon press conference at the organization’s headquarters, Janet Marquez, an undocumented woman whose husband was murdered in the parking lot of a shopping mall in Juarez after being deported, demanded retribution for his death.
Her deceased husband, an undocumented construction worker, was detained for a traffic infraction and taken to the border for immediate removal without ever going before a judge. Desperate to get back to his family and job, he was killed while meeting with a smuggler six days later.
Marquez, who has lived in the country for 9 years and has two U.S.-born children, ages 1 and 5, is applying for asylum.
Rallying around Marquez’s story and others, approximately 250 BNHR members -dressed in black and carrying crosses - marched about 3 miles to the San Jacinto Plaza to join the protests.
Occupy El Paso, which started Oct. 18, is part of a larger rally against perceived economic inequality and corporate domination of government that started in New York over a month ago.
The group says that for them this includes corporations, like privately owned detention centers, that benefit from the current set up of the nation’s immigration system. They also mentioned, but did not specify, corporations that benefit from the militarization of the border.