_Trump made a preposterous request for $33 billion for border enforcement, which included $18 billion for a wall that would cover half the length of the U.S.-Mexico border.
_Rumors are that Trump plans to visit the San Diego area to check out prototypes for his ‘big beautiful’ border wall after his state of the union address on January 30.
_ Congratulations to Astrid Dominguez of ACLU Texas and SBCC steering committee member for being named the new director of the ACLU Regional Center for Border Rights, headquartered in El Paso, Texas.
_I Have A Dream (Act). Wouldn’t it be a great way to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, if Congress passed a Dream Act that valued the lives of young immigrants, did not use Dreamers as bargaining chips for oppressive, punitive_and completely unnecessary_border enforcement, and did not include a family unity ban nor the cancellation of diversity visas? Not too much to ask.
_ Or are we living a nightmare? This week, we were witness to an out_of_touch president who dismissed a bipartisan legislative proposal for DACA recipients because it was not harsh enough on border and families. Adding insult to injury he made vulgar slurs about entire groups of people. This cannot and must not be who we are as a country. Sigh.
_Unhealthy power naps. There are at least seven bills that have gained some traction on Capitol Hill that address border enforcement measures; some are iterations of each other and some include a version of DACA relief. Probably the most moderate and bipartisan of these initiatives on the House side_being worked on by Rep. Hurd (R-TX) and Rep. Aguilar (D-CA)_may be introduced this coming Tuesday. From what we’ve heard, it contains a common-sense approach to border enforcement based on facts and consultation with border stakeholders, while it offers technologies as an alternative to a concrete wall. We would encourage broadening stakeholder consultation membership, adding more oversight and accountability, and ensuring stronger privacy protections, particularly if it’s technology heavy.
_Sleep Paralysis. Unfortunately, the vast majority of existing legislative proposals_introduced to date_are extreme and partisan (frankly, non-starters from our perspective). We held a media briefing yesterday (see the recap here) expressing our analysis of the good, bad and ugly of these bills. In the bad column are the wasteful addition of 5,000 border patrol agents and some version of a wall that consists of physical barriers or technology. Some of the better provisions include: (1) limiting Border Patrol activity to as close to the actual border as possible, (2) adding 550 investigative agents to the Office of Professional Responsibility, and (3) requiring the development of a comprehensive border strategy plan prior to the implementation of further border enforcement to ensure that border policy is grounded in data and analysis. Here are the bills we know of:
|- Building America’s Trust Act S. 1757, introduced by Sen. Cornyn (R-TX)||- Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute H.R. 3548 "Border Security for America Act of 2017" - introduced by Rep. McCaul (R-TX) and passed in committee|
|- S.2192 - Security, Enforcement, and Compassion United in Reform Efforts Act (SECURE) Act of 2017 - introduced by Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa)||- Securing America’s Future Act - introduced by Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA) and Rep. McSally (R-AZ)|
|- S. 1937: Border Security and Deferred Action Recipient Relief Act, introduced by Sen. Flake (R-AZ)||- Bipartisan bill expected to soon be introduced, co-sponsored by Rep. Hurd (R-TX) and Rep. Aguilar (D-CA) that offers the most balanced, moderate approach to a DACA fix and border enforcement.|
|- Bipartisan mystery bill being worked on by Senators Flake (R-AZ), Durbin (D-IL), Graham (R-SC), Gardner (R-Colo.), Bennet, (D-Colo.), and Bob Menendez, (D-NJ) that was presented to Trump yesterday and flatly rejected for not being harsh enough.|
_Dreamy Math? U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently released 2017 apprehension and staffing data, showing a 45-year low in apprehensions and a deficit of almost 2,000 agents from the mandated number of 21,370. Tell me again why we need more Border Patrol agents?
_SBCC’s Dream Team. Several of us have been taking turns in DC in the fight to push for DACA relief by Jan. 19, and next week we will be bringing another delegation to DC. On our commitment to stand fast in Washington, DC, and help pass a Dream Act tempered with reasonable border enforcement, Christian Ramirez, SBCC director expressed cautious optimism. “We still have a long road ahead of us, but we want to make sure that we don’t leave Washington, D.C., this month without a solution.”
_Help us make the Dream happen. Yes, you. We have been in Washington, DC 24/7 since the beginning of October, maintaining a constant presence and urging Congressional members to pass a Dream Act_because 1 out of every 5 Dreamers lives in the border region_and we’ve also been here to push back against any further border militarization, especially against any additional resources that come without adequate accountability and oversight. We need your help! Please call Congress and organize rallies at in-district offices to let them know we need a bipartisan Dream Act by January 19 that doesn’t further militarize our border communities.