Border artists to showcase, speak out on immigration crisis

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South El Paso farm workers center hosting literary 'uprising' on immigration issue

The Border Farm Workers Center is hosting a literary event in South El Paso, in which local artists address the immigration crisis Friday, July 5, 2019 (Photo by Julian Resendiz).

EL PASO, Texas — A South El Paso community center is inviting border residents to hear what local artists have to say about the ongoing migrant crisis.

Centro Sin Fronteras, 201 E. 9th St., is hosting an “Artistic Uprising” from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday

“The purpose of this gathering is for artists to express their solidarity for the migrants who are living in dire conditions under custody in detention facilities here in our community,” said Carlos Marentes, executive director of Sin Fronteras, also known as the Border Farm Workers Center. “We are inviting the public to interact with these artists and express their opinion.”

The sponsors of tonight’s literary event include the center and Mujer Obrera.

Marentes said many El Pasoans are appalled by federal immigration agencies’ treatment of asylum seekers from Central America and elsewhere who have been coming by the tens of thousands to the U.S.-Mexico border since October.

“The detention centers have become concentration camps and there are several people who have died in custody. Others are not even given the opportunity to apply, as they are turned back to Mexico by officers in the middle of the bridge,” Marentes said.

He added that the artists who’ll be participating in the event also realize that it’s not just the migrants who are being affected by the crisis. Ordinary border residents who come and go between El Paso and Juarez because of work or family reasons have also had to deal with additional scrutiny and longer wait times.

“They are inconveniencing those of us who regularly come and go between these two cities that are really one big border community,” he said. “Also, we are seeing increased expressions of racism, including by federal officers on social media, and the activity of militia groups that have come out of the closet and are now in our midst.”

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