Headed to Spain

This coming Monday, April 28, the Defenders of Wildlife will be hosting a “Congressional Field Hearing on the Border Wall and the Department of Homeland Security’s Abuse of Power” at UT-Brownsville.  The community event is a vital step in uniting environmental groups and community members in the open nonviolent opposition to the violence of a border wall in South Texas.

Regrettably, I will not be able to attend this meeting.  By Monday, I will be in the Basque region of northern Spain, researching second-language education programs and immigration systems in the developed country with one of the most liberal immigration policies in the world.  I will be thousands of miles removed from the present situation of the REAL ID Act and the Secure Fence Act of 2006.  The civil disobedience training scheduled for mid-May, as well as many community events organized to call for a moratorium on the border wall – all of these events will go on in the month I am away from la frontera. 

But, in some ways I will be traveling closer to the solution.  Spain is a country who has confronted issues of immigration in a constructive, positive fashion.  Rather than entertaining the idea of a border wall to solve or salve its immigration issues, Spain has chosen to view people as assets, be they from Morocco or Romania or Bosnia.  I look forward to learning how these people are assimilated, how they are granted real opportunities to participate fully in Spanish society, and how they are guaranted the rights of all citizens. 

Since the Secure Fence Act of 2006 was born out of aborted bipartisan immigration discussions, real immigration reform is at the heart of any alternative to an atrocious 700-mile border barrier between the U.S. and Mexico.  The individuals throughout south Texas who plan to engage in trained civil disobedience to oppose the construction of a border wall have both my blessing and my prayers.  It is also my prayer that I will be able to apply the lessons I learn across the Atlantic to this issue, one which is fundamentally a domestic conflict due to inevitable globalization.  I will try to keep posting blog entries as faithfully as possible, so that my thoughts and meditations might add yet another perspective to the ongoing legal fight and nonviolent struggle against the border wall.

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One Response to “Headed to Spain”

  1. Scott Nicol Says:

    One quick clarification: the hearing on Monday is a Congressional field hearing, chaired by US Representative Grijalva. While the Defenders of Wildlife will be sending someone to testify on the tremendous negative impact that the wall is already having in Arizona, they are not sponsoring the event. The No Border Wall Coalition will sponsor a tour after the event to show visitors to the border what will be lost – private homes, the Sabal Palms Audubon Sanctuary, the University of Texas at Brownsville, etc.

    The real fireworks will come from the presence of representatives Tancredo and Hunter, both rabid supporters of the border wall. Tancredo recently criticized the Pope, saying that his call for immigrants to be treated humanely was just a cheap ploy to recruit Catholics, not a reminder that charity is supposed to be a basic Christian value. Hunter likes to claim that the border wall in California has created a utopia there, despite the fact that crossings in San Diego are up by 7%, while in the wall-free Rio Grande Valley crossings are down 34%, bringing them to a 15 year low. Anyone who can should turn out to support Grijalva, and let Tancreado and Hunter know what we think of their bigotry.

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