Immigrant rights group sheds light on border patrol abuse
| Saturday, 06.11.2011, 03:00 PM

DETROIT - Alliance for Immigrants Rights and Reform Michigan (AIR) has kicked off a summer long campaign titled "Summer Without Fear," with the goal of trying to shed light on the mistreatment and racial profiling of immigrants and minorities in southeast Michigan  by border patrol and local police.

 AIR held a training session last Saturday in Detroit where roughly 70 participants showed up from all over the area, including Ann Arbor and Lansing. The goal of the event was to gather volunteers to go around their communities and educate people on their rights. Eventually once enough volunteers are in place, (AIR is aiming for 200 participants) they plan on speaking at community centers, mosques, churches and even going door-to-door to shed light on the alarming number of cases that could be classified as racial profiling.

Among those cases, AIR notes that dozens are related to border patrol abuse, where specific minority groups such as Arabs and Latinos are being targeted. 

"We see this as a pattern of abuse by homeland security. When people are targeting others based on their race and religion and asking them what mosque they go to, they are engaging in serious civil rights violations," said Ryan Bates, Director of AIR.

The campaign's next move will come on Saturday, June 11, where a rally on border patrol harassing will be held at Clark Park in Southwest Detroit at noon. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has also been a great contributor to AIR's movement, providing the campaign with specific cases of Border Patrol harassment towards Muslims. 

"We know there are problems at the border with human trafficking and drug smuggling and they should be using their resources to tackle those issues and not harass innocent Muslims who are trying to get by," added Bates.

Also working with AIR on this campaign is the Detroit Coalition against Police Brutality, an activist group speaking out against local police abusing civilian rights, with cases such as warrant-less illegal searches, intimidation and racial profiling while driving.

For more info about AIR or their "Summer Without Fear" campaign, visit or contact them at 313.358.7020. 

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