Border Angels condemns killing of George Floyd, demands State and Federal Investigations of Minneapolis' Law Enforcement actions
Recent cases of hate-fueled violence against black Americans continue to demonstrate that our country has a long way to go to address and eradicate long-held prejudices and racism embedded in our institutions and culture. This is visible from New York’s Central Park, where a white woman called 911 on a black man who had asked her to leash her dog, to Minneapolis, Minnesota where police forcibly removed a black man named George Floyd from his car and killed him by kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes while he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. These incidents are the direct result of a society steeped in anti-black prejudice, and display an egregious lack of accountability within the police force and broader justice system.
Like a never ending plague that seems to mutate, grow stronger and resist moral inoculation or indignation, racism thrives in America today. It is fanned by a president who embraces white supremacy in his words, deeds and policies. American racism puts children in cages, vilifies Asian Americans as the cause of COVID, dehumanizes immigrants and asylum seekers, and sits silent while COVID decimates Native American communities.
Border Angels stands in support of the black community and demands justice for Mr. Floyd. Our mission of humanitarian work embraces all who are victimized and marginalized as 'less American' by the President's rhetoric and by the country’s institutions, institutions which are plagued by the white supremacy that has shaped our nation since its founding. None of us is free until all of us are free.
Luis Aragon, Esq.
Board President, Border Angels
Luis M. Aragon is the President of the Board of Directors of Border Angels and President of the Board of Directors of Teatro Mascara Magica (TMM).
Aragon retired from the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office in 2016 after 30 years as a Deputy District Attorney. Aragon was one of America’s first hate crimes prosecutor and helped write California’s anti-hate crime law. His work in civil rights has been highlighted in national publications, including the American Lawyer, Readers Digest and television’s Forensic Files. Aragon created San Diego's Hate Crime task force comprised of community groups, law enforcement and government to fight and prevent hate violence. The task force continues today.
Otay Mesa Detention Center Car Rally
San Diego Organizers/Activists/Humanitarian Aid Workers call for the support of the San Diego community in protesting the abuses of ICE Detention Centers. On Tuesday, May 10th, another life was tragically lost in these death-camps as ICE has taken no protections or precautions against the spread of COVID-19. Choung Woong Ahn, a 74 year old South Korean man, has been in the United States since 1988 and was considered high risk because of his health. Yet, after a coalition of attorneys sought bond for his release, ICE rejected these urgent requests.
This is the 3rd death in ICE custody since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Car Rally to urge ALL migrants be released from ALL ICE Detention Centers and ICE, as a governmental agency, to be defunded and abolished. Protection is NOT deporting migrants! Protection is the abolition of detention and deportation!
We should not stand idly by as immigrant siblings die!
Organizations proudly endorsing and working together in this act of solidarity:
Armadillos Búsqueda y Rescate
Asian Solidarity Collective
Bridge of Love Across the Border
Brown Berets of Aztlan (security)
Center for Interdisciplinary Environmental Justice San Diego - CIEJ
Colectivo Zapatista (security)
Fuerza, Amigos de Aztlan
The Kids 2017 Org
Party for Socialism & Liberation SD
People Over Profits SD
San Diego Border Dreamers
San Diego Tenants Union
SURJ San Diego
United Against Police Terror
We All We Got SD Mutual Aid
Today, we are excited to share with you the story of the 23rd recipient of our bond program, Brenda. After 5 months of being in detention, this 37-year old loving mother was finally able to see so many loved ones and friends (at a safe distance). Brenda escaped domestic violence in El Salvador, and like so many other asylum seekers waited in Tijuana for over a year as a result of MMP (Migrant Protection Protocols), only to finally end up at the Otay Mesa Detention Center. In her time in Tijuana, she spend much time cooking and feeding other migrants at a volunteer-run shelter, helping so many others in her similar situation.
Despite her not having any criminal history, she has been stuck at this COVID-19 death trap with a bond of $7,500. This woman would not have been able to leave this place had it not been for the efforts of Jill Zwiers, Minority Humanitarian Foundation, and the National Bail Bond Fund, among others. Despite such hardships her spirits remain hopeful and brave, and this process however hard, has taught us how much we can do for one another especially when we all work together.
Let this story serve as a reminder of all the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and community members waiting in such conditions in detention, simply for seeking a place or a part in this country. Brenda represents so many others being subject racist and inhumane policies, and we must not forget the urgency of getting everyone we can out of the Otay Mesa Detention Center. This pandemic continues to be unforgiving, and we will not allow any more lives lost. Again, we thank you for your support and ask you to continue to help us make sure our folks are free and alive.
Border Angels continued its shelter aid this week in Tijuana
Border Angeles continued its shelter aid this week in Tijuana, both for families and migrants who are resisting the pandemic attacks, and for their projects to extend their protection to the community in the short term.
This time we take donations to Roca de Salvacion, Casa de La Luz, Casa del Deportado Sagrado Corazon, and Casa de Oracion del Migrante.
In Roca de Salvación in Colonia Azteca there are now 102 people sheltered and with the support of Border Angels, Pastor Salvador Zepeda and a group of volunteers are building an extension that could house almost 70 more people.
The executive director of Border Angels, Dulce García, arranged to systematically support Roca de Salvación for its important practical and humanitarian work in support of migrant families.
In practically two months, Pastor Zepeda and his team have lifted the construction, including facilities, and, even though modifications had to be made at the request of the Tijuana municipal government, the work is nearing completion, complete and finished, by June.
Moreover, this week Border Angels also attended the Casa de Oración del Migrante community, where 22 migrants were quarantined this week after one of them tested positive for Covid-19.
The infected migrant returned to the shelter on Sunday, May 24, under strict sanitary measures and with medical supervision. He was assigned to a sector of the shelter far from the rest of the migrants until the doctors assure that he is out of risk.
Pastor Humberto Ibarra reported that medical personnel constantly check the migrants in quarantine and he hoped that by the end of the week the doctors would confirm that they are free of Covid-19.
Meanwhile at Casa de Luz, the coordinator Irvin Mondragón, reported that for now there are 23 people in the shelter and he expected three more in the following days.
The hostel is an old gym with spacious rooms in Playas de Tijuana, where families from Honduras and Mexico and some migrants are currently staying. As it is very broad, the director allowed two deported people, one of them the husband of an American activist, to remain in preventive quarantine in a place far from the rest of the people.
Casa de Luz is one of the most organized shelters and currently expands areas of the gym to make them habitable.
In the Casa del Deportado Sagrado Corazón shelter, which Border Angels also supported this week, there are 29 people, mostly migrants, but for now they have no families, because they have not arrived, according to its director, Perla del Mar .
The shelter provides shelter to two older adults with medical conditions, so they remain confined for their safety in the face of the pandemic.
Perla del Mar is a nurse and helps with health issues for both migrants at the shelter and the community in the neighborhood, with tests and monitoring for diabetes, cholesterol, anemia, blood pressure, HIV, as well as nutrition advice.
At Border Angels, it is our mission to promote a culture of love. Not only do we do so through direct action and advocacy, but through education. It is our hope that in doing so, we will provide a social consciousness that helps and protects our migrant community.
We want to give a huge thank UCSD professor Alexander Huezo by helping us achieve this mission, and inviting our Executive Director Dulce Garcia to speak for his Ethnic Studies: U.S Mexico Border in Comparative Perspective class.
Although this pandemic brings challenges, we will always find a way to spread love and knowledge however we can. Would you like one of our members to present for your virtual class/event? Emails us at: email@example.com with your name, organization, date, time of presentation and topics of discussion!
Border Angels supports humanitarian search and rescue team Armadillos
César and Alex Ortigoza were scrolling through social media on Friday afternoon, after finishing work, when they found a message from an acquaintance on Facebook, who regretted not knowing anything about his brother, who disappeared 10 days ago.
The brothers, founders of the humanitarian aid group Armadillos, offered to find the whereabouts of the missing young man.
They did a mapping of the area, delimited areas where they thought that, if something had happened to the person, they could find the remains. The next day, Saturday, May 16, at dawn, they were already walking through a remote area of Carmel Valley, where, after a while, they found some remains.
They took photos and called the San Diego Sheriff to give directions to the coroner.
When they showed the photos on social media, the relatives of the missing man assured that it was his missing young man. The wife of the missing person said that he fully identified works on the teeth, but the Armadillos preferred to let the DNA tests confirm it.
By Tuesday, the relatives had confirmed the identity of the victim. The Armadillos found out because the family opened a GoFundMe account to help with the funeral.
It was the first time since the COVID-19 contingency began that the brothers went out in search of remains or rescue. Due to the risk of the coronavirus and the lack of resources, the brothers and nine other volunteers had had to suspend humanitarian work to try to locate lost people in inhospitable areas, a job that no institution does on its own.
"The last searches were financed by my brother with our salaries," said Alex Ortigoza, who works in construction. César has a maintenance job.
Each time they went out to do a search and rescue, the brothers rented a truck for about $600 for an entire weekend, bought gas to travel often between northern San Diego and southern Arizona, where disappearances are reported most often. Furthermore, they had to cover food, drinks, occasionally first aid, and all without enough equipment.
The resources were usually only enough to search two weekends a month, but forcibly returned on Sunday to return to work early Monday.
Alex said that when Border Angeles’ executive director Dulce Garcia told them that her organization could contribute to their continued humanitarian work, the Armadillos started plans again.
Border Angels will provide resources for the Armadillos to purchase a vehicle of their own and obtain essential equipment for searches in remote areas of the border.
The Armadillos are the only ones who often bring comfort to heartbroken relatives who for a long time do not know if they should cry for their lost loved ones, because nobody knows where they are or how they are.
At the border, more than 8,200 migrants are known to have died trying to cross in inhospitable areas since 1998, when Border Patrol began a count. However, this figure lacks those who perished from 1994 to 1998 by Operation Gatekeeper, and all the migrants whose whereabouts are unknown.
The executive director of Border Angels, Dulce García, commented that “now more than ever it is necessary to work together in favor of the immigrant community, and the collaboration with Armadillos is an example of an alliance that reflects good results quickly.”
The Armadillos team includes volunteers Karina and Jenn Frost Moreno, Eloy Botello, Beto Méndez, Brian Ordóñez, Nicolle Méndez, Amdu Culen and Axiel Vargas.
Saturday’s Water Drop: One year ago we lost one of the most inspiring & motivational people we have ever met. Our brother Jonathan Daniel Yost.
Jonathan was the first person many of us met when we came to Border Angels. His infectious energy & ability to reach the part of us that had been longing to get involved was unlike anything we’d ever encountered before. Jonathan saw in us what we weren’t ready to see in ourselves, he challenged us to face this mission not just with words but with direct action, which changed our lives forever. Jonathan was serious, focused, and intense. To hear him speak was to be transported in empathy & motivation. For those of us who loved him and knew him well, there was also the side of him that was silly, funny, and caring. We miss all of him today & always will.
We will never know the extent of the impact that Jonathan has had in the desert & on this earth. Every gallon we leave & every one we find consumed is tied to his energy & legacy. This is why we say that revolutionaries never die, because everyone who Jonathan inspired now carries a piece of that with them & can’t help but impart in with others. This is how we continue paying respect to our brother who was never satisfied with complacency, who always pushed us to do more.
Everyone, please check on your strong friends, your advocate friends, your outspoken friends, your healer friends. Show up for them even when they say they don’t need it. The world feels tense & depressing often, it can even feel hopeless. Check on your friends who speak passionately & hopefully about the well-being of everyone but themselves. Life was already difficult and complicated a year ago when Jonathan left us, and it’s gotten exponentially so. We are isolated quite literally & more inundated with stress and injustice than ever before, if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed by it don’t wait for anything or anyone, check on yourself. You are never alone, we are better together, and the world is more beautiful with all of us in it. It’s Mental Health Awareness month & if there’s anything Jonathan loved it was raising awareness. Love each other. We love you.
We are proud to be endorsing "Ni Un Migrante Menos! Car Rally" that will be taking place at the Otay Mesa Detention Center.
The Armadillos Search and Rescue call for the support of the San Diego community in protesting the abuses of ICE Detention Centers. On Tuesday, May 10th, another life was tragically lost in these death-camps as ICE has taken no protections or precautions against the spread of COVID-19.
This is the 3rd death in ICE custody since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Join us in a Car Rally on Sunday, May 24th with your signs to urge ALL migrants be released from ALL ICE Detention Centers and ICE, as a governmental agency, to be defunded and abolished.
We should not stand idly by as immigrant siblings die!
All participants required to wear masks, even while in a car so as to avoid citation.
Printouts with instructions for police will be taped to all windows so as to avoid face to face contact with police who could be infected with Covid-19.
We are encouraging a non antagonistic approach so as not to put our community at risk.
We are excited to share a preview of how the expansion at Roca de Salvacion migrant shelter is coming along. We were able to fund this addition to the shelter so that families may have more space. As the pandemic becomes more emergent in Tijuana, a space for inhabitants of the shelter so self-isolate. As you can see the first rooms are being finished, the floors, ceilings and windows are done and only need tile to be added. The hardest parts are nearly completed such as the plumbing, and even wheelchair friendly bathrooms. Thank you to Pastor Salvador for the update and we look forward to seeing the finished product!
Extreme heat with humidity can make for a dangerous combination. Saturday’s drop had our team in temperatures from 100° to 110°.
One group found consumed supplies we have left out, and a lot of evidence of migration passing through this corridor. Supplies were replenished and we will follow up on this area shortly.
Our other group scouted canyon exit points from another major corridor, and found some fresh signs of travel, as well as our supplies consumed that were left miles away.
We have the luxury of being well fed, rested, and hydrated before heading to the desert. We hike with the knowledge that we are safe and the privilege to be able to call for help if necessary. We are never truly alone. We hike with abundant water, electrolytes, air conditioned cars waiting for us with ice chests full to cool us off....and still it is difficult.
Every single year we learn more about how little we know about the true journey of desert migration and gain even more respect for the mission at hand. Every year we see signs of people being pushed further and further in already unimaginable circumstances.
Despite a deadly global pandemic and their practices having already funneled thousands to their death in the desert, Border Patrol remains in the desert, mountains, and checkpoints ensuring that those seeking safety must travel exponentially longer distances in dangerous conditions.
Apprehensions, detention, deportations, all these practices persists despite the risks to everyone involved and we expect they will continue regardless of how long this particular crisis lasts and how much death and danger results. Which is why we have not, and will never leave the desert. As long as people are crossing through, we’ll be there.