EL PASO, Texas – The ACLU Border Rights Center today launched a telephone and text service for border residents to report Border Patrol interference in the community. Residents can call or text at 1-800-557-4916 to leave a message in English or Spanish to report actions by Border Patrol agents involving rights violations or deterring access to essential services during COVID-19.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial that border residents are able to access medical and essential services. The presence of Border Patrol in neighborhoods and medical facilities instills fear and anxiety that deters those in need of medical attention from seeking it,” said Cynthia Pompa, Advocacy Manager of the ACLU Border Rights Center. “Our staff has received reports of Border Patrol agents continuing their enforcement through car chases and roving patrols in border communities, which has already prevented families from accessing essential services and items. Now more than ever, we need to ensure that people are heard, and action is taken where appropriate.”
The watch line is available to all community members 24/7. A voice message or text can be sent with as many details as possible. This includes who was involved, when and where, and pictures or video. Border residents are encouraged to safely and securely report Border Patrol activity or abuses, especially if their presence is limiting or obstructing access to essential services at hospitals, COVID-19 testing sites, school lunch deliveries, or food pantries.
Bilingual reports that are received will be collected by the ACLU Border Rights Center to monitor developing trends, for advocacy purposes, and to provide assistance when possible.
The line is not set up to provide any kind of legal advice or legal immigration services, as the line will not be staffed with someone answering calls. Identifying information reported on the line is confidential and will not be shared without consent.
More information on the Border Community Watch Line is available here: http://aclutx.org/bpwatchline