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Human rights group reacts to federal, state border measures

Posted at 5:37 PM, Jun 05, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — President Biden's recent executive order has prompted immediate changes at the southern border and within the court system.

Now, with Arizona’s controversial ballot initiative HCR 2060 set for a vote this November, local human rights organizations are voicing their concerns.

Juanita Molina, the executive director of Border Action Network based in Tucson, expressed significant concern over the recent developments.

"We feel like it’s a very problematic move that’s based more in politics than what the actual needs are of the community," Molina said.

The organization, active for over 15 years, advocates for human rights along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The new federal policy includes a provision to close the border after 2,500 daily apprehensions, a move Molina criticized as a "logistical nightmare."

"One day you may have hundreds or thousands of people who show up in Yuma, and then the next day it may be El Paso. This measure seems decided by someone unaware of the logistical reality of everyday implementation on the border," she said.

The Arizona Legislature's approval of HCR 2060, which would enable local law enforcement to arrest migrants crossing the border illegally, has also drawn Molina’s ire.

"To divert our resources on a local level to combat something already in the infrastructure of our federal law is incredibly problematic and a logistical nightmare," she said.

Molina likened the measure to previous controversial laws, like SB 1070, predicting it would lead to significant legal challenges and practical difficulties in implementation.

Molina emphasized the human cost of these policies.

"The human cost to these political decisions is devastating. People will die. People will lose family members. People will experience things that will traumatize them and their children for the rest of their lives," she said.

As the situation evolves, the impact of these new policies on the border communities and the broader national debate on immigration will be closely watched.

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Eddie Celaya is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9. Born in Tucson and raised in the Phoenix area, Eddie is a life-long Arizonan and graduate of the University of Arizona who loves the desert and mountains and hates the cold. Previously, Eddie worked in print media at the Arizona Daily Star. Share your story ideas with Eddie at edward.celaya@kgun9.com, or by connecting on Facebook or Instagram.