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Rep. Raúl Grijalva has been fighting border militarization for years. Photo: Getty Images
Rep. Raúl Grijalva has been fighting border militarization for years. Photo: Getty Images

House reps led by Raúl Grijalva bring Biden concerns of militarized border communities

 Grijalva’s letter is Co-signed by reps. Ritchie Torres, Juan Vargas, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Nydia Velazquez, Adriano Espaillat, and more. 

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On March 9, Raúl M. Grijalva led 22 Members of Congress in a letter to President Joe Biden asking for an end to the troop deployment at the Southern Border authorized by former President Donald Trump. 

They argue that despite the end of the Trump Administration and the national emergency, more than 3,600 soldiers remain deployed at the Southern Border at a large cost to taxpayers.

Grijalva’s stance isn’t new.

For years, he has been on the mission to pass the “Border Security and Accountability Act,” first introduced in 2017, which would demilitarize the border communities he represents by drastically reducing the number of deployed troops in the Southern border region. 

“For many years, border residents have vocally opposed the militarization of their communities. President Biden has an opportunity to finally heed those calls by removing all military personnel and equipment from the border immediately,” Grijalva wrote in a statement. 

He says failure to demilitarize these zones will further politicize the military. He writes that instead, the nation should invest in the border communities themselves, not by the deployment of thousands of soldiers that residents have been vocally opposed to in the past. 

In Grijalva’s letter to Biden, he thanks his administration’s recent actions on immigration, many stemming from day one, and his executive order frenzy. Still, he argues that there is no justification for the continued presence of more than 3,600 troops “whose mission remains unclear.”

He then requests that the president “immediately” remove all military personnel and equipment from the border and work with Congress to undo the border security and immigration policies implemented under Trump. 

“This should include removing, not merely repairing all razor wire from border communities and landscapes that border communities have vehemently opposed since the beginning,” Grijalva continues.

Razor wire is only one aspect of the imagery that these border communities are subject to.  Recently, the Mayor of Nogales, Arizona demanded the razor wire along the border to be cut down.

The National Guard installed it in February 2018, when migrant caravans were making their way to the southern border. 

Mayor Arturo Garino told KOLD 13 that the barbed wire is “Aesthetically unpleasing, and that it’s “not what you want to see in a business downtown area. For a while we had a lot of tourists, but not to come to Nogales — to take a picture of the wires because they couldn’t believe it.” 

This financial implication is only one of the ways the militarization of border communities has manifested itself negatively. Still there is no word on the next steps of Grijalva’s Border Security and Accountability Act. 

The letter is just the beginning.

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