Protecting Immigrant Communities: The ACLU Border Community Watchline

June 11, 2020 | Texas

The CDF-Texas office in the Rio Grande Valley works diligently to connect families with services and supports and ensures that they have the health care and other essential services they need. Therefore, we were happy to learn about a new project from the ACLU Border Rights Center. They have launched a telephone and text service for border residents to report Border Patrol activity around areas that offer essential services. Some examples of essential services are hospitals, COVID-19 testing sites, school lunch deliveries, and food pantries. Both CBP and ICE have policies regarding sensitive locations that restrict them from pursuing enforcement actions except under critical circumstances. During this pandemic, it is essential that every family, no matter their migratory status, has access to the care they need and the ability to report the authorities that deter access to this care. 

This initiative by the ACLU supports the communities that our RGV team works with everyday and upholds the essential services valued by CDF-Texas. Here we explain what this Community Watchline is, why it is necessary, how the ACLU will use this information, and how to share it among these border communities.


What is this service? 

The Border Community Watchline is a telephone service for communities in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley to report Border Patrol activities in areas that provide essential services. Community members can call or text the ACLU at 1-800-557-4916 to report Border Patrol activity.


Why is this service necessary? 

Along the U.S.-Mexico border and around the country, the fear of being deported deters immigrant families from accessing essential services. During this pandemic, these feelings of fear and anxiety can be particularly dangerous as immigrants can be more vulnerable to infection, illness, and financial hardship. Immigrant communities face various barriers to healthcare that have been exacerbated by COVID-19 and do not need fear related to enforcement to act as another obstacle.

How will my information be used?

The ACLU will use the information provided through this Community Watchline to track trends, incidents, and concerns within border communities. This information may also be used to inform advocacy efforts and possible litigation, but will not be used or published without your consent. This Community Watchline does not serve to provide legal advice or immigration services.

How can I share this information? 

The CDF-Texas created an informative Facebook video that explains all of this information in Spanish. The Spanish-language slide deck used in the video is also available here. The ACLU created bilingual graphics to share on your social media and spread the word about this important service. Here are the Facebook and Twitter posts that you can share with your communities. You can share the ACLU web page with more information about the Community Watchline.