As part of its commitment to the community it serves, the ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights works to engage, develop, and organize local leaders in the movement for a more free and just border region. The RCBR is an key member of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, 60 organizations from San Diego, CA to Brownsville, TX that fight for border enforcement policies and practices that are accountable, fair, and respectful of human dignity and life, and frequently organizes trainings and actions in Southern New Mexico where the RCBR office is located.
Justice Advocates Academy
Together with Equality New Mexico, the RCBR operates the Justice Advocates Academy in Southern New Mexico to help community leaders feel their own power and the power that comes from building community-led movements for social justice, liberation and equity. Building community across identities—such as race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender expression, LGTBQ, or people living with a disability—builds power to level the playing field and create opportunity and equity for all people.
RCBR staff often help organize community actions to highlight injustices that people living in border communities face. Recent RCBR actions include:
D.C. Action: ACLU affiliates from CA to TX descended on Washington D.C. in July 2016 to urge DHS to prohibit racial profiling. Border leaders, including Justice Advocates, briefed Congress and met with CBP to demand transparent investigations into Border Patrol’s discriminatory policing of border communities.
Binational Vigil: Human rights advocates joined the family of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca to remember five years since a Border Patrol agent gunned down the unarmed teenager. His case is one of six border-wide where agents shot across the border and killed Mexican nationals on Mexican soil, an action the U.S. government has tried argue does not violate their constitutional rights.
Know Your Rights Checkpoints: RCBR staff and community leaders regularly deploy their own checkpoints to inform motorists at Border Patrol checkpoints or pedestrians at CBP ports of entry of their rights. Border residents confront our nation’s largest police force on daily commutes to school, work or to visit family and friends. RCBR’s investigation into their experiences can be found in the publication Guilty Until Proven Innocent.