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TAKE ACTION: SA Says No to Border Security Expo

Greg Harman

On Wednesday, March 11, residents of San Antonio and around the region will gather outside the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center to decry the Border Security Expo. The now-annual happening describes itself as “the premier event that attracts international and domestic government leaders and law enforcement officials charged with securing their borders and mitigating ever-changing threats.”

As a self-declared Compassionate City, San Antonio faces a moral crisis when called upon to reject the Expo, as happened this year. “It’s a contradiction that we have this repressive arm of immigration enforcement hosting a convention here within a city that’s supposed to be a compassionate city,” Govanni Reyes, a member of About Face: Veterans against the War, told Silvia Foster-Frau at the San Antonio Express-News.

In the above video, two of the protest’s organizers speak about the reasons they are calling on San Antonio to block the expo.

Unsurprisingly, elected leaders have so far not responded to the call to cancel the event. Yet the numbers of those killed by border agents through overt and covert means continues to grow and thousands more languish in makeshift camps on the Mexican side of the border with little hope of ever being granted asylum in the United States no matter how desperate their situations.

This year the expo is hosting a “Sharpshooter Classic” to “simulate real-life scenarios that border agents and officers face in the field.” The very worst of those “real-life scenarios,” no matter how unjustified or how bloody, bring zero consequences for Border Patrol agents, the US Supreme Court has ruled, even when they include deliberately gun down Mexican children on the Mexican side of the border. (RIP Sergio Hernández.)

Attending? Check in at the Contra Border Expo Facebook Event Page.

But even those too far away to join in can sign on to the group’s petition site, which reads:

Dear Mayor Nirenberg and San Antonio Council members,

We write to you as your constituents urging you to deny access to San Antonio public facilities for the upcoming Border Security Expo scheduled for March 11-13, 2019 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Why is this important?

San Antonio must make a very clear stance that “security” is not enhanced by ramping up the lethality of forces lined up along the border or aggressively targeting immigrants. These are methods of terror. San Antonio should redefine “security” to mean access to food, housing, health care, education and work.

These are the things that lead to meaningful, secure lives, not assassinations at borders or deportation of beloved community members. San Antonio has the important responsibility to behave like a compassionate city as articulated by our own city Charter for Compassion:

“Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.”

We are charged with the responsibility to actively demand better for ourselves, for each other, and as a city. Because of this, we demand a compassionate San Antonio that envisions, fosters, and creates a welcome home for immigrants, not an enabler of those who terrorize them. Again, rise to the challenge, and say no to the expo.

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