Rights on The Line: Vigilantes at the Border

More About Rights on the Line: Vigilantes at the Border from Producer WITNESS

Rights on the Line: Vigilantes at the Border exposes the ugly anti-immigrant politics that lurk behind the Minuteman Project and also illustrates the continuum between official border militarization and vigilante action. Human rights activists and residents of border communities shot this video.

Rights on the Line: Vigilantes at the Border was produced in order to halt the growth of the vigilante movement, as well as prompt a broader discussion around the impact of current U.S. immigration policies. In the aftermath of September 11th, immigration again became a hot button issue. Concerned about inhumane treatment of U.S.-Mexico border crossers, the American Friends Service Committee worked to bring attention to the expanding powers of border law enforcement and increased activity by vigilante groups like the Minuteman Project, seeking to recast the current immigrants' rights debate in the U.S. within a broader human rights framework. As part of this project, AFSC partnered with WITNESS and the ACLU to produce Rights on the Line: Vigilantes at the Border in September 2005.

The film has mobilized migrant communities to join human rights campaigns and prompted hundreds of people to become legal observers in border regions. In Austin, the video helped lead the City Council to unanimously approve a resolution opposing vigilantes and requiring authorities to monitor and report all Minuteman activities back to the council. The video was covered by radio and television networks along the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2006, the video mobilized people in San Eliza Rio, Texas, to make their own film about racial profiling in their community, which was submitted as testimony at the State Capitol in a campaign that led the local sheriff to eliminate traffic checkpoints used to spot undocumented migrants.
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