Public and native lands advocates say McCain’s proposed legislation gives Border Patrol unrestricted access that is unnecessary and detrimental
By María Inés Taracena, Tucson Weekly
August 27, 2015
Nellie David is concerned for the Native American youth growing up in what she sees as an increasingly militarized Tohono O'odham Nation.
These days, a walk or drive around her hometown of Ajo almost always leads to being questioned by U.S. Border Patrol agents roaming the tribal land. David remembers the time she and two friends were surrounded by a handful of Border Patrol trucks in a remote area of the reservation merely over their presence there. Another example is a recent evening when she took her dog on a walk in the desert, and "all of the sudden a helicopter comes up and gets really close to me, checking us out," she says.
"The rez (reservation) is surrounded by checkpoints," says David, who currently lives in Tucson, while finishing law school at the UA. "We are indigenous people, and for them to ask, 'Where are you from? Where are you going?' It's like, 'who are you?'"
When she heard about a border security bill that U.S. Sen. John McCain recently introduced—which would waive laws on all federal public land within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, and essentially grant law enforcement immediate access to every corner of the borderlands—she says she thought the bill is going to make things worse. Most law enforcement, already, has no respect for things such as burial grounds and other places on the reservation that are considered sacred, she says. How much more freedom can they get, she wonders.[...]
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