"There is not one documented case of a person crossing the U.S. Mexican border that committed a terrorist act, not one," Morones told KFMB-TV. "There's three from Canada. Three different cases. Yet, the National Guard is sent to the Mexican border."
The group plans to drive a caravan of vehicles from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas and back, stopping at border cities along the way. The demonstration will culminate with an "All People's Immigration Hearing" in San Diego on Feb. 17.
2nd Migrant March will get personal
Dozens of immigrant-rights advocates will depart today from San Diego to drum up support for immigration reform.
Called Migrant March II, the caravan of mostly Latino leaders will drive to Brownsville, Texas, and back, meeting along the way with community leaders and residents in cities along the border, organizers said.
Exactly one year ago, advocates led a similar caravan to push their agenda for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to legalization for the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.
This time the goals are the same, but "it's going to be more personalized," said Enrique Morones, who created Border Angels and Gente Unida, two pro-immigrant groups.
Organizers hope to put a spotlight on the hardships migrants endure while crossing the border by collecting accounts of people who died trying to cross the border, he said.
"We want to bring it home. We want to be able to take the stories from migrants themselves," he said, adding that organizers plan to deliver those testimonies to lawmakers in Washington.
"These personal stories could sway them," he said.
Over the next two weeks, members of the caravan will hold prayer vigils, educational forums and memorial services in border communities, while collecting accounts of migrant deaths, organizers said.
"We're raising consciousness about the border deaths," said Nativo Lopez, president of the Mexican American Political Association. Those deaths, he added, will remain "unresolved without major immigration reform."
"It's not getting any better; it's getting worse," Lopez said.
More than 4,100 people have died along the border since 1994, according to Morones. A federal plan to build a border fence has made the issue of immigration reform even more critical for Latino leaders, he added.
Although the caravan's itinerary is not yet fixed - some rallies in Phoenix and Tucson are planned so far - Morones said he has been flooded with phone calls from residents who want to host events.
"This is as grass roots as grass roots gets," he added. "We're taking it to the people and going in to the cities. It's up to the people to say where, when and what we will do during the march and caravan."
Last year's caravan set the tone for last spring's massive immigration marches, according to Lopez. But local immigrant advocate Victor Ledesma of the Hispanic Outreach Taskforce said marching is not enough.
He, too, believes the country needs to hear from those who have lost friends and relatives who died trying to cross the border into the United States.
"That would be a lot better than just marching," said Ledesma, a La Mirada resident. "Unless you put the human touch to it, it just becomes a matter of people blasting and using a lot of negatives."
It's a message that needs to get out, Morones said.
"Every day that passes, more people die," he said. "It's inhumane, and we're much better than that as a people and as a country."