Native Americans join groups in El Paso protesting border wall

By Allen Cone
Protesters hold a sign against building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico during a march in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday. Photo by Natalie Krebs/UPI
1 of 6 | Protesters hold a sign against building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico during a march in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday. Photo by Natalie Krebs/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Native Americans joined various advocacy groups in a march in downtown El Paso, Texas, against President Donald Trump's proposed barrier along Mexico.

Saturday's rally was organized by Border Network for Human Rights along with other local migrant rights and anti-border groups. Several hundred protesters held signs and chanted opposition of the wall, as Native Americas danced and pounded drums.


"We will continue to fight we will take the streets, we're actually going to come and do this again and again if Trump continues to divide our families, to separate our families, or to actually insist on the idea of building this wall," Fernando Garcia, the director of the Border Network for Human Rights, told KTSM-TV.

Protesters said they aren't ending their fight although Trump is holding off on congressional funding for the wall for three weeks. The president said if no deal is reached by Feb. 15, he will shut down the government again or consider a national emergency declaration.


The march began at San Jacinto Plaza. They stopped at Paso Del Norte Bridge, also known as the Santa Fe Bridge, which connects El Paso to its sister city of Juarez, Mexico. The protests ended in the neighborhood of Chihuahuita, where construction began a few months ago to repair part of the border fence.

The march drew families with young children, young adults, people with dogs and people from outside El Paso.

"We wanted to put legs to our faith," Jaime Kowlessar, a pastor of City Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church in Dallas, said to the El Paso Times. "We don't believe in separation or walls. We believe in the beauty of all people, celebrate all people and diversity. And it's important that we show it not just with our words but with our bodies as well."

He brought a group of parishioners for the day. Some planned to visit Juarez.

Participating in the march was new U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, who holds the House seat formerly held by U.S. Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke,

"Thank you for being here, for having a voice of compassion," Escobar told the crowd. "I am going to fight every single day for compassionate, humane and just immigration reform, and I am with you 100 percent."


Earlier in the day, she conducted her first town hall.

She said House Democrats need to hold firm against funding the wall, including $5.7 billion sought by Trump for 215 miles of barrier, of which 100 is new fencing and the rest will replace or bolster existing ones.

"It wasn't until Thursday, more than 30 days after the swearing in, that the Senate finally voted on something," she said. "Thankfully, the president decided to support the very bill that we voted on Jan. 3."

Escobar said the physical structure does nothing to deter Central American families from seeking asylum. That drew applause from many attending the town hall.

"What is our role in making sure that they can stay home?" she asked. "That they can live in a country that is safe? [That] should appeal to your concern, which is stemming the flow of asylum seekers."

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