Our history at the Texas Civil Rights Project runs deep along the border. TCRP’s very foundation was born out of solidarity between migrant workers, immigrant families, and lawyers in their communities, who envisioned a better Texas where all people are treated with dignity and respect. This history lives on over thirty years later: some people might be surprised to know that the founding name of our organization, and our legal name to this day, is La Oficina Legal del Pueblo Unido. This loosely translates as the Legal Office of the United People.
Over the last several months, our team has reflected upon this history and deepened our commitment to a safer, more welcoming border state for people from all walks of life. As part of this work, we are excited to announce that we have realigned and sharpened our values and priorities of our Racial and Economic Justice program, which will be taking on a new name that reflects our aspiration and vision for Texas.
Our team envisions a state Beyond Borders.
With this new name, we are articulating the practices and beliefs we’ve been deploying in the fight for the rights of migrants and border residents alike over the last several years. From the banks of the Río Grande to the plains of rural Texas, we envision a border state that respects the right to migrate and supports human dignity for all people, no exceptions. In solidarity with partner organizations and communities, our team aims to eliminate policies that perpetuate the harmful effects of militarization, cultural erasure, imprisonment, and exclusion along the Texas-Mexico border and across the state.
Photo submitted by TCRP supporter Luis Villalobos as part of our #WeAreTheBorder campaign. Luis looks out to his community along the Ciudad Juarez-El Paso borderland.
“From the banks of the Río Grande to the plains of rural Texas, we envision a border state that respects the right to migrate and supports human dignity for all people, no exceptions.” Beyond Borders Vision Statement
The ever-growing entrenchment of U.S. exclusion and deportation policies by certain politicians have shuttered access to the Texas-Mexico border as a place to seek protection, creating intractable humanitarian needs that require a sharpened commitment on dignity and human rights for migrants. At the same time, the arrest to deportation pipeline continues to expand in border communities and across the state. In particular, Texas has made unprecedented efforts to villainize and portray border communities as dangerous to justify seizing billions of dollars of funding from programs meant to support Texans in order to fund a manufactured political crisis. Governor Abbott has further militarized border communities instead of increasing teachers salaries and invested resources in arresting and jailing migrants rather than in services that actually keep our communities healthy and safe.
Across the state and along the border, we see thriving communities and resilient human spirits that inspire our vision to embrace our interconnectedness across peoples, cultures, and natural environments. The concepts of human dignity, respect, and freedom are at the core of our mission.
Our Beyond Borders approach involves two areas:
1. Humanitarian situations: Fighting for migrants to move across our border with dignity.
2. Border communities across our state who deserve good governance at all levels, and economies that do not rely on exploitation.
These two areas reflect our thinking about borders: we must see beyond borders and build the world that connects all of us. Ultimately, there is no division between these two focal points: instead, we see the truth of a river bleeding and abused from the violence of border militarization, driving a critical need for humanitarian legal assistance; and equally a community-driven approach to ending the growing grip of heavy-handed border enforcement to dismantle the border militarization complex.
We will strive to make community lawyering and advocacy foundational components of our realigned program, because we cannot do this alone. We must come together across the state in order to make progress, just like we have in the past. Against all odds, in solidarity with our allies and with support from the community, we restored land to families on the border, free of racist walls and full of the tranquility and peace that they deserve. Together with your support, we reunified migrant parents and children that had been separated at the border by cruel policies.
Together, we will continue to push towards a Texas that rejects hate and extremism and instead celebrates diversity of people and cultures and protects our most cherished values: humanity, respect and the freedom to belong.
Beyond Borders Team