“These are my grandmothers Lydia and Berta. Both of them and their their siblings grew up in the same neighborhood of Nogales, a city that exists both in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Nogales was home to a vibrant community of both American born and Sonoran Afro-Mexicans, many that descended from the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Calvary Regiment stationed at Fort Huachuca, just over 15 miles to the north. Berta and Lydia As well as several of their brothers and sisters were also part of the Frank Reed Middle School community that educated a number of afromexicans where they could attend find community amongst black children and families. The community was so strong that many of these students stayed in touch lifelong. When my grandmothers moved west to Los Angeles, they built their families around each other. It was no surprise when my mother, Alva, and father, Pancho, found each other. In fact, it may have been the intention of my grandmas from the start. Today our family is spread from Sonora to Texas, Arizona, and throughout California.”
“I ethnically identify as Afro-Mexican. Racially, I embrace my Blackness as here in LA that is typically how I am read and what my experience is. The identity of Afro-Mexican acknowledges my African roots as well as the land we live on, though claimed by America, belongs historically to indigenous Mexican peoples. My mom has always spoken about our family proudly in these terms. It’s what I’d like to continue to promote.”
The US Border Patrol in Arizona opened fire on a teenager alleged to have been throwing rocks in Nogales, Mexico, killing him and leading to outrage in border communities over the latest fatality in the Border Patrol’s shoot to kill strategy.
In Tucson, Coalición de Derechos Humanos denounced the shooting of 16 year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez in Mexico, by US Border Patrol agents in Arizona, who fired across the international border. The teen was shot at least six times.
“The incident, which occurred on October 10th, is the latest in a series of shootings that have raised serious questions as to the use of deadly force by the largest police agency, the U.S. Border Patrol,“ Derechos Humanos said.
“The community deserves an immediate halt and review of their ‘use of force’ policies, and an independent, objective, and thorough investigation of the incident, which may include the possible prosecution of the Border Patrol agent to stand trial for the murder of this young man.”
A short war with Mexico — The Battle of Ambos Nogales, 1918
In 1918 tensions along the United States/Mexican border were heating up. The turmoil of the Mexican revolution, recent raids by the revolutionary Pancho Villa, and sporadic incidents of violence along the border led to heightened security among border agents and the military. More importantly the United States was at war with Germany, sending hundreds of thousands of soldiers to fight in the trenches of the Great War. One of the reasons the US had entered World War I was a secret telegram from the German ambassador Arthur Zimmerman to Mexico, offering an alliance if Mexico attacked the United States as well as the recovery of lost territories such as Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. While Mexico rejected the proposal the United States feared that German influence and espionage was rife south of the border. Needless to say a suspicious eye was cast on Mexico by the United States Government. Border security personnel on both sides were anxious and twitchy, a situation which could only lead to violence.
On August 27th 1918 a Mexican carpenter named Zerefino Lamadrid passed through the border at Nogales, Arizona/Sonora without having a package he was carrying inspected. US border guards suspected he was smuggling weapons and ordered him to halt. However Mexican guards on the other side of the border ordered him to continue. Confused as to what to do Lamadrid froze as soldiers on both sides shouted contradictory orders. Finally when an American soldier raised his rifle a gun battle erupted between American and Mexican border guards. In response to the shooting a garrison of Mexican Federal troops joined the growing firefight while simultaneously reinforcements arrived from the 35th US Infantry and 10th Cavalry (the Buffalo Soldiers). Essentially a deadly misunderstanding at the border erupted into all out warfare between the United States and Mexico. Adding to the firefight were hundreds of Mexican civilians who grabbed personal firearms and joined in with the battle. On the American side civilians also responded by arming themselves, occupying rooftops and firing across the border.
Under heavy fire, the 10th Cavalry crossed south of the border and led an attack into the town. Weeks earlier Mexican soldiers had dug a series of trenches on the hilltops overlooking the town of Senora. Before more Mexican reinforcements could arrive and occupy the hills soldiers of the 10th Cavalry captured the trenches, fortifying the position and setting up machines guns. In response Mexican soldiers and civilians fortified a number of large buildings and used them to fire back against American targets.
At the height of the battle the Mayor of Sonora, Felix B. Peñaloza, placed a white cloth on his cane and ran through the streets begging people to stop shooting. Peñaloza was killed when a bullet from the Arizona side of the border struck him. With the death of Peñaloza city hall officials and the Mexican Consulate worked to end the fighting. After almost four hours of fighting white flags rose above the Mexican customs house and a ceasefire was ordered on both sides. Sporadic sniper fire continued for a while, but for the most part hostilities ceased.
In the aftermath of the battle a two miles border fence was erected in Nogales. An American military investigation into the incident concluded the conflict was caused routine mistreatment of Mexican border crossers and the misconduct of Border security agents. Incredibly the US government blamed the incident on agitation by German agents, a supposition based on nothing more than rumor, innuendo, and hearsay. The battle left six American servicemen dead as well as two civilian militiamen. Mexican reports count 15 soldiers, although the exact number of civilian casualties is unknown.
Illegal immigrants cannot get welfare or food stamps it is not possible. 50 to 75 percent of all illegal working immigrants pay taxes that they do not benefit from. I am from Arizona and I have worked with guys from the other side as we say, they’re some of the best human beings I’ve come across and encountered in my life. This is when I was a carpenter in southern Arizona. Now I am a carpenter and Boston Massachusetts I work with illegal immigrants from Ireland. I’ve been to Mexico quite a few times living only 40 miles away, if you saw firsthand what I have seen growing up and as an adult in southern Arizona, you would know that what Donald Trump is saying and a lot of Republican assholes are saying is b*******. All of you who have been to Mexico have mainly been to tourist destinations, you don’t get to see what real life in Mexico looks like. To the people (Americans) praising El Chapo as a hero, he is responsible for hundreds if not thousands of murders. The drug cartels run that country, it’s a mess and if I lived there I’d be trying to get to the United States also.
Marchers Call for Justice in Teen’s Cross-Border Shooting Death
Six months after the shooting of Mexican teenager José Antonio Elena Rodríguez by U.S. border agents, his family and community activists in Arizona are frustrated and fear that the investigation into his death is at a standstill.
More than 100 protesters walked from Nogales, Ariz. through the port of entry and to the pock-marked building just yards from the border where on Oct. 10, 2012, the 16-year-old Rodríguez was shot by two border agents firing through the metal fence.
The march was sponsored by several humanitarian groups, including Derechos Humanos, No More Deaths, Yo Soy 132 Nogales, Kino Border Initiative, and Samaritanos from Green Valley and Tucson.
Protestors marched behind a truck with speakers that played a corrido written about the death of the Mexican teen. They gathered on Calle Internacional, where Rev. Ricardo Machuca Hernández led a prayer and candles were lit near the small shine that marks where Rodriguez fell.
Information on the shooting, including the ballistics report and Rodríguez’s autopsy, has been readily available from Mexican agencies, said Hannah Hafter, the abuse documentation coordinator with No More Deaths. But little has been said by U.S. authorities.
“The U.S. side has been completely silent,” she said.
“We demand justice, we demand a real change,” said Helena Lopez, from Tucson, who came to support the effort.
I must confess that I am documented, but sometimes, I am still afraid. I am afraid of la migra and my heart and stomach do a little jump when I spot their vans Downtown or near the airport. I shouldn’t be, I have the magic little papers to fight them off. But having come across so many bigoted and power-hungry officials, I can’t help but to wonder how far they will go to keep people “in line."
Today, 8 youth demonstrated just how unafraid they are of ICE. Supporting them were countless other undocumented individuals both on this side of the Nogales, AZ/Sonora fence and the other. The 8 DREAMers presented letters stating that they considered the US home and that because they qualified for DACA, they should be allowed back. ICE took no time to arrest them and may possibly, as they themselves threatened in a statement, deport them back to Mexico.
The amazing thing, however, is that this protest was organized recently - I heard about it about a week ago - by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. But at the last moment, about 30 additional DREAMers showed up at the line on the Mexico side. That is evidence of how many DREAMers Obama keeps deporting despite his administration already having [supposedly] opened a path for qualifying youth.
One thing is for sure, however: when you know something is wrong, such as all the deportations Obama keeps facilitating, you must stand up, and you must be unafraid.
I just keep wondering, why are all the children immigrants locked up a "humanitarian crisis"? Isn't this a political crisis? Isn't this an incarceration crisis? There's something about the use of humanitarianism that feels like it puts the focus on access to blankets instead of detention without access to legal services.
The border between the United States and Mexico stretches 3,169 kilometers (1,969 miles), crossing deserts, rivers, towns, and cities from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico. Every year, an estimated 350 million people legally cross the border, with another 500,000 entering into the United States illegally. No single barrier stretches across the entire border, instead, it is lined with a patchwork of steel and concrete fences, infrared cameras, sensors, drones, and nearly 20,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents. As immigrants from Mexico and other Central and South American countries continue to try to find their way into the U.S., Congress is now considering an immigration reform bill called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. The bill proposes solutions to current border enforcement problems and paths to citizenship for the estimated 11 million existing illegal immigrants in the U.S. Gathered here are images of the US-Mexico border from the past few years.