LA Chicanos demand buoys at border be removed
Los Angeles, CA – 30 people gathered at Mariachi Plaza in LA’s Boyle Heights neighborhood, September 15, to demand Texas Governor Greg Abbott comply with the federal judge-ordered removal of buoys at the Río Grande/Rio Bravo. Chanting “Abbott is a liar, remove the racist wire!” and “¿Qué es lo que queremos? ¡Legalización! ¿Cuando? ¡Ahora!” supporters and speakers gathered as part of the week of action called by the Legalization for All (L4A) Network in conjunction with activists in Eagle Pass, Texas, where the buoys were dumped into the river.
The spirited action took place at Mariachi Plaza, as people drove by and honked or waved in support, or shouted their support as they walked by.
The Los Angeles protest was organized by Centro CSO’s Immigration Rapid Response Team which is led by Jordan Peña and Sol Marquez. Peña opened up the event by saying, “I'm from El Paso, Texas, born and raised on the border. I have always known the border to be a place that people cross every single day. People would cross for normal day-to-day activities such as work, seeing family, going out to eat, and this was normal. This was how our society in El Paso functioned.”
Peña continued, “Throughout the most recent years even under the Biden administration we have seen the militarization at our El Paso increase substantially. When I was a kid there were no barbed wire fences, now there are mounds and mounds of barbed wire fences. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas recently put buoys in the middle of the Rio Grande to deter asylum seekers from crossing over.”
After Peña, Jenny Bekenstein, a Teamster Local 396 rank-and-filer spoke, “We stand with those fleeing the destabilization of their home countries, like Guatemala, only to be met with the vicious hammer of U.S. anti-immigrant policies and tactics.”
Then attendees heard from Jose Barrera, who is a DACAmented DREAMer from Michoacán, Mexico. Barrera is an active advocate for immigrant rights, pushing for strong immigration reform in the U.S. Last month, he became the youngest-elected vice president of the League of United Latin-American Citizens (LULAC) in the organization’s history. He is also the first DREAMer to take the same role in LULAC’s history. During the event Barrera said, “The Democrats also need to do more during these violations of human rights at the border. And if they don’t, then we won’t vote for them!”
Gabriel Quiroz Jr. made his first speech ever and represented CSO’s Police Accountability Committee. “As a Chicano I think it’s very important to stand in solidarity with immigrants at our southern border. I am here to demand Governor Greg Abbott immediately remove the razor-covered buoys. I myself am the son of immigrants, my dad is from Nayarit, Mexico, and so are my grandparents. We stand in solidarity with all in Eagle Pass and those attempting to cross the border.”
Also speaking at the event were Aaron Reveles from the Peace and Freedom Party and Antonia Montes, representing Centro CSO’s education committee. Ending the event was Sol Marquez representing CSO and Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Marquez spoke about how her mother crossed the Rio Grande in the 80s. Marquez asked, “What if my mom, like countless other Central Americans, Mexicanos, Haitians attempted to cross today? Would she have been one of the four who recently died by the concertina wire or the death buoys?”
Those participating in the L4A week of action include organizations in Eagle Pass like Border Vigil, Eagle Pass Border Coalition, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), and Silicon Valley Immigration Committee (SVIC). If you would like to join CSO, send them a message on social media @CentroCSO on their hotline (323) 484-8630. If you and your organization would like to join the Legalization for All Network, send them a message here: legalizationforall.wordpress.com