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Humane Borders, the border watch agency that named a donated border water station after controversial Mesa Legislator Russell Pearce, has received an honorary award from Mexico.

The Rev. Robin Hoover, president, received the Premio Nacional de Derechos Humanos 2006 from new Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Mexico City.

Sacha Feinman is a freelance journalist who accompanied Hoover to the ceremony.

“I was very impressed and excited by (Calderon’s) speech,” Feinman says. “I don’t really have an opinion on the Mexican elections, but (the speech) seemed very direct and positive.” He added that Calderon said immigration is not an issue that can be legislated.

Also receiving awards were Isabel G. García, co-chair of Tucson’s Derechos Humanos, and Padre Flor Maria Rigoni for work on Mexico’s borders.

The Mexican National Human Rights Commission presented Garcia and Rigoni with the Premio Nacional de Derechos Humanos for 2006.

Garcia was honored for her work of the past 30 years defending human rights along the U.S.- Mexico border. Rigoni was honored for his work with immigrants along Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala.

However, Garcia decided not to show up to accept the award after learning she would not be allowed to speak. Garcia says because she felt she had been “silenced.”

This is the first time the Premio awards have been given to individuals outside Mexico.

Garcia did say in a press statement, “The migrant deaths, the state of siege imposed on our communities by the growing militarization of border control and immigration…must lay at the feet of the U.S. and Mexican governments, whose policies of ‘free’ trade and national security are forcibly displacing Mexican campesinos….”

Hoover says a special category was created for him. “…because I’m not Mexican.”

Well, nobody’s perfect, Robin. Ask Russell Pearce.

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