BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A request denied for a group looking to exclude federal agents from the Charro Days festivities.
On February the 4th Frontera Progressives sent a letter to the head of Charro Days Inc. looking to exclude Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE in the 2020 festivities. They believe the agencies’ current policy is in direct contradiction of the international event.
On February the 10th Charro Days Inc. denied their request. In a statement released on the organization’s Facebook page, the festivity organizers say, “we will continue our community’s celebration and provide activities in a non-threatening family-oriented tradition.”
Mark Kaswan, Co-founder of Frontera Progressives say, “Their response is kind of hypocritical. The purpose of Charro Days is of helping the community through dark times. These are certainly dark times for this community.”
Kaswan and Frontera Progressives believe the policies implemented by CBP and ICE place those in attendance on edge. This is not their first time requesting CBP and ICE not participate in the Brownsville event. The organization has held silent protests during the last 2 Charro Days parades. In previous years, they’ve taken stand against the border wall, workplace raids, detention facilities, and lately, Migrant Protection Protocols.
“This is not against Charro Days, It’s not against the fiesta. We’re not protesting charro Days. And we’re not against any individual that works for Border Patrol. We understand that many of them come from our community. The problem is the policy of the Trump Administration that they are tasked with implementing.”
We reached to the federal agencies about the debate. In a statement, CBP officials say, “The agency actively participates in multiple outreach efforts, including Charro Days… Our officers… also live here and are part of the community.”
Statement by Frontera Progressives
February 4, 2020
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.
Statement by Charro Days Inc.
February 10, 2020
The purpose of this statement is to respond to the Frontera Progressives Article
that appeared in the Brownsville Herald on February 9, 2020.
Charro Days Inc. was “Created to lift community spirits during difficult times.”
Article 12 of our by-laws simply states: Charro Days Inc. is an enterprise
undertaking all the PEOPLE of Brownsville and the immediate surrounding
community of such city.” We understand and recognize the views of all, but we are
not a political or governmental agency.
We will continue our community’s celebration and provide activities in a non-
threatening family-oriented tradition.
Furthermore, throughout the years all Local, State and National Law Enforcement
Agencies have been proud and respected participants in the Charro Days Inc.
Therefore, the request from The Frontera Progressives coalition to remove the CBP
and ICE Federal Agencies from the Charro Days Inc. parades and other events is
Statement by CBP
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) actively participates in multiple community outreach efforts throughout the year, including the Charro Days Grand Parade along with fundraising efforts for charitable organizations through the Combined Federal Campaign and other activities that directly serve and benefit the community such as the Adopt-A-Highway through our CBP Explorer program. Our officers not only work in the local community but also live here and are part of the community. We are happy to participate in efforts for the benefit of the community.
CBP’s primary mission is to safeguard America’s borders thereby protecting the public and our communities while facilitating lawful international travel and trade.