In 2004 vigilante groups patrolled the U.S.-Mexican border, hunting for migrants in the vast Arizona desert. A law student who hails from the small border town of Douglas, AZ takes off two years from his studies at Stanford Law School to return to Douglas to fight against the growing vigilante movement and the human rights abuses on the U.S.-Mexican border.
This book provides a first-hand chronicle of the immigration debate that currently engulfs our nation. Ray Ybarra Maldonado writes about the border from his personal experience as a child and from the perspective of a dedicated activist who has travelled into the interior of Mexico to find victims of vigilante abuse. He also shares stories from his work at a migrant shelter in the Mexican border town where his mother was born, and from the middle of the Arizona desert where gun toting members of the Minutemen Project confront migrants crossing the militarized border.
Born on the Border does more than chronicle the growing anti-immigrant movement that has emanated from Arizona, Ybarra Maldonado makes a compelling argument that the current immigration laws are immoral and that civil disobedience is needed so that human mobility can be recognized as a human right. While others are arguing over what comprehensive immigration reform looks like, the author's personal conflict between doing what is morally right and breaking the law challenges readers to take a drastically different look at one of the most pressing issues facing nation-states in the 21st century: immigration and the human right to cross borders.
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About the Author
As a lawyer, Ybarra Maldonado is an aggressive trial attorney who has attained not guilty verdicts for his clients in both state and federal courts.
Ybarra Maldonado co-wrote and co-produced the award-winning documentary, "Rights on the Line: Vigilantes at the Border," was instrumental in bringing about a major civil rights lawsuit against one of the vigilantes, and created and coordinated the Legal Observer Project during the Minutemen's operations. He has trained hundreds of volunteers and spent months following the Minutemen as they patrolled along the U.S.-Mexico Divide.
Ybarra Maldonado has written about and given numerous talks on vigilantism, the militarization of the border and the growing immigrant's rights movement at numerous universities including Stanford, Harvard, University of California at Berkeley, and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and to community groups from Washington to Iowa. In addition to receiving awards for his commitment to social justice, Ybarra Maldonado has testified in front of local and state bodies as well as having his work quoted at the United Nations. Ybarra Maldonado is frequently quoted in both the national and international media and his work has been profiled in the Intelligence Report, Stanford Lawyer, and in a documentary that premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, entitled 'Crossing Arizona.'
Ybarra Maldonado spent a year volunteering at a migrant center in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico and in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico assisting with cleaning, preparing food, and conducting human rights discussions amongst the migrants.
Ybarra Maldonado attended Cochise Community College in Douglas, AZ and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University in 2002 and from Stanford Law School in 2007. He has previously worked for the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and was a proud public defender in Cochise County and with the Federal Public Defender's Office in Tucson, AZ.
He currently lives in Phoenix, AZ with his wife, Angeles Maldonado, and their handsome baby boy, Ray Emerson. The family are avid fans of the Arizona State Sun Devils, Stanford Cardinal, and all things Arizona (minus the anti-immigrant politics).