Human rights being violated at U.S.-Mexico border, speaker says

Human rights violations run rampant along the United States-Mexico border because governments are undermining border residents' constitutional rights, said Irasema Coronado, assistant provost at the University of Texas at El Paso, on Tuesday during her visit to the university. 

“The U.S. and Mexico don’t have a human rights agreement, and that is something I think that we need to work on,” Coronado said. “We need to protect the rights of migrants and we need to protect the rights of unaccompanied minor children on the border because we have quite a few of those.”

In her speech, hosted by the Brite Center for Latino/a Church Studies, Coronado explained why many Mexicans want to migrate to the U.S. and how the U.S. could resolve the immigration policy by, for example, allowing Mexicans to come in with worker visas or allowing family visas rather than individual visas.

“I think we need to promote family immigration and not individual immigration,” she said. “I think a lot of Mexicans that I have met would like to work. They want a visa to come to work. Some Mexicans, after hurricane season in Florida and on the east coast, go and work and clean up houses and repair roofs.”

President Barack Obama appointed Coronado, an expert in U.S.-Mexico border relations, to serve on the Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. The panel promotes cooperation on issues among the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Cristina Rios, a sophomore strategic communication major, said the speech informed people about border relations.

“We already knew this information, but just having such a strong public figure to remind us and give us her insights just makes us have more knowledge and know more of what we can do to help this situation,” Rios said.

Jackie Acevedo, a senior physics major, said the issue needs to be fixed.

“I have friends that are illegal and it’s just sad that they have to live every single day just worrying that they are going to be caught and sent back,” she said. “It’s a complicated issue and we need to unite and do something for the people. We are all equal.”

Esmeralda Hernandez, a junior education major, found Coronado’s speech helpful.

“I’m an immigrant myself, so I was really interested in coming and just learning about what it is like to be an immigrant in the United States,” Hernandez said. “I just found it useful to find ways I could help my community.”