To the Charro Days Fiesta Organizing Committee:
Just this morning, the Brownsville Herald reported on yet another case of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) repeatedly refusing entry to a critically ill asylum-seeker, in violation of its own rules. Enough is enough. CBP should not be allowed to participate in the Charro Days Fiesta.
The Charro Days Fiesta is a celebration between two sister cities that characterizes itself as a joyous time between good friends and good neighbors. Since its inception, this Fiesta has been imbued with good will across the border, a time to honor each city’s heritage and culture, a time to share music, food and dance. It is a special occasion where boundaries cease to be important and only camaraderie and friendship are significant.
All this joviality is disrupted by the prominent inclusion of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers in the Color Guard Parade that precedes the Charro Days Grand International Parade. While we understand that they are a part of our community and may perform an important public service, it is also the case that they have worked aggressively to enforce border policies that have ripped families apart within our own community, denied people their basic rights, prevented people access to critical medical care, and even led to the deaths of numerous people.
Whatever one may think of the work being done by these agencies, their presence at a celebration of togetherness is jarring and disquieting. Their participation at Charro Days Fiesta is incompatible and irreconcilable with the connectedness that binds our two cities.
Charro Days is a special gift our cities have and we should cherish its spirit and protect it always. Today more than ever these agencies continue to crate fear within our community, and should not have a place in one of the most important celebrations of our region. ICE and CBP have no place there, and we humbly ask you to remove them from the parade and all related events.
We look forward to your response.
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above guest column shows attendees at the 2019 Charro Days Fiesta.