A New Border Vision

a new border vision image with children


Clinic co-directors Roxanna Altholz ’99 and Laurel Fletcher helped the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), a consortium of community empowerment groups from San Diego to Brownsville, draft A New Border Vision, which calls for substantive changes to current U.S. border policies and promotes principles and standards that expand public safety, protect human rights, and welcome residents and newcomers.

To help build momentum for a national campaign at the city, state, and federal level to change the narrative on border policies, the clinic is representing Alliance San Diego, a community empowerment organization and member of SBCC, to press Bay Area city councils to approve resolutions endorsing the New Border Vision.

David Maxson Harris '21 speaks at a press conference before the city council meeting
David Maxson Harris ’21 speaks at a press conference before the city council meeting, supported by Co-Director Laurel Fletcher (in red scarf) and fellow students holding the banner.

On Tuesday, January 28, Berkeley became the first city to pass a resolution supporting a New Border Vision. This historic vote affirms Berkeley’s legacy as a city that has long led the fight for human rights, and is an important first step toward protecting Berkeley’s most vulnerable communities from inhumane and wrongheaded border policies that violate human rights, separate families and make every resident a potential victim to the widespread abuse and corruption of federal border agents. Berkeley is a border city (within 100 miles of a coastal border) which means federal border authorities can use racial profiling to stop and search city residents and ask them for papers without probable cause.

The New Border Vision lays out a path for good border governance grounded in human rights principles and informed by affected communities. Berkeley will be the first city in the country to pass the resolution, giving a major advocacy victory for the SBCC.

“If we stand idly by in the face of oppression, then people perish, not just metaphorically but physically. People are dying because of the xenophobic priorities of ICE, and Customs and Border Protection. If we cannot stand up to these attacks on human dignity and say “No!” then who can? If not us, then who? And if not now, when?” —Rabbi David Cooper at the 1/28/20 Berkeley City Council meeting

The southern border region—home to about 15 million people—is a place of hope, encounter, and opportunity. It is one of the most vibrant and diverse places in the country with deep cross-border ties from San Diego, Calif. to Brownsville, Texas.

But instead of embracing these dynamic communities, for decades U.S. border policies have cast aside human rights, criminalized migrants and engaged in deadly and unaccountable border enforcement, undermining public safety for all.

To this, this initiative says ‘No more.’ It’s time for a New Border Vision that expands public safety, protects human rights, and welcomes people at our borders in a manner consistent with our national values and global best practices.

People holding up "It's Time for a New Border Vision" signs at the city council meeting
Clinic students and friends at the Berkeley City Council meeting.

SBCC’s New Border Vision is a guiding light, a chance to move forward with common purpose to honor our moral and legal obligations to treat everyone with dignity and respect.

We invite you to explore a New Border Vision, and join us in our mission to create well-functioning borders for the 21st century.


Remarks from the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant

Remarks from Berkeley School Board President Judy Appel

Remarks from Rabbi David Cooper

San Francisco Board of Supervisors passes New Border Vision Resolution, 3/17/20 

Video: Vanessa Rivas-Bernardy ’21 speaks before the Berkeley City Council, 1/28/20

Berkeley City Council passes resolution on immigration system, Daily Californian, 1/29/20

Berkeley becomes first city to pass “New Border Vision” resolution, 1/29/20

Resolution adopted by the Berkeley City Council, 1/28/20

Resolution adopted by the Berkeley Unified School District Board, 1/8/20