In recent years few issues have been as polarizing as that which surrounds practically every facet regarding the debate around both undocumented immigrants and more broadly, comprehensive immigration reform here within the United States. While strong feelings on both sides of the debate are certainly nothing new and have persisted for decades; the debate however, over the past several years has become the most toxic and incendiary it has quite possibly ever been in recent memory. Needles to say, it’s undeniable that much of the vitriol and hatred that surrounds the current debate amongst immigration reform here in the states stems from a deep seated racial resentment; specifically against Mexican immigrants and those hailing from Central American nations. Of course, with a overwhelming majority of the most recent vitriol and disdain being manufactured and facilitated by the current Trump administration, and more specifically Donald Trump himself.
It’s common knowledge that from the very beginning of Donald Trump’s campaign to run for office, he has been continually harnessing and weaponizing the racial animosity that many white Americans hold against Mexicans and other Latino communities has not only been the linchpin of his campaign, but a central pillar to the very appeal and allure which galvanizes, and catalyzes the most loyal followers within his base. Whether it’s Trump broadly painting Mexicans as criminals and ‘rapists’, along with the proposal of a ridiculous border wall in his very first announcement for the presidential bid in 2015. Or Trump last year deciding to unilaterally rescind DACA, an Obama-era program which allows undocumented young people who were brought to this country as minors and meet specific requirements to live in the states free from the fear of deportation. The Trump administration’s announcement to sue the state of California over sanctuary city policies that protect immigrants. The Trump administration’s recent decision to divide immigrant families to criminally prosecute parents, effectively tearing apart families apart. And of course, Trump’s most recent comments dehumanizing immigrants from Central American countries such as El Salvador; calling them ‘animals’; and routinely in a deliberate and calculated manner conflating migrants, many of them women and children with members of the U.S. born street gang MS-13. These are only some of the highlights of ways Trump and his administration have deliberately gone out of their to not only scapegoat and villainize immigrants, but cause quantitative, measurable harm and psychological terror within immigrant communities,
With all the hostility and animosity that is routinely directed at Mexican and other Latino communities on the behalf of the white house alone; which doesn’t even begin to cover the hundreds of confrontations and micro-aggressions initiated by regular garden variety racists and bigots emboldened by this xenophobic rhetoric spewed by the white house. It is sometimes easy for many to forget that undocumented individuals who come to this country are not just simply faceless, nameless entities or stats in flow chart; but real human beings with names, families and stories rather than the faceless boogiemen they are often scapegoated as by the right. One such organization that works to dispel the various myths surrounding immigration in the United States is Border Angels, an all volunteer, non profit organization that advocates for human rights, humane immigration reform, and social justice with a special focus on issues related to the US-Mexican border. The organization also engages in community education and awareness programs that include guided trips to the desert to place water along migrant crossing routes as well as experience the border fence firsthand
With that said, we are proud to present the second episode of Step Off! Radio with Jacqueline Arellano, the director of the Border Angel’s water drop hike program; where she discusses discuss Border Angel’s mission, the story behind her involvement in the org’s water drops, organizing & activism along the U.S./Mexican border region of the American Southwest, as well as the increased militarization of U.S. Customs & Border Protection security under a Trump administration.
Featured below is our full interview with Jacqueline Arellano as well as several short accompanying videos discussing the recent work of Border Angels.