_It wasn’t enough to send National Guard to the border to the non-existent crisis here and justify a border wall, now Trump is sending the National Park Service too!
_ICYMI: CATO Institute recently published a policy brief on the effectiveness of drones that showed that these have led to only 0.5 percent of apprehensions at a cost of $32,000 per arrest.
_Gasp! A Republican Revolt. Over the last 48 hours, the House Republican caucus made us hold our breath by staging a revolt that aims to bring to the floor for a vote an immigration bill that would offer a Dream Act, and possibly include funding for a border wall and other nasty, unacceptable, terrible stuff. There are at least two theaters in the battle. The first is under the Queen of the Hill rule, introduced by Rep. Jeff Denham. This discharge petition aims to circumvent approval by House Speaker Paul Ryan to get four immigration proposals to the House floor for a vote, and whichever proposal gets the highest number of votes above 218 becomes the queen_and only_bill that passes. In this strategy at least 25 Republicans (and all Democrats) need to sign on; they have 20 Republicans. In the second scenario, and to prevent the discharge petition from happening, House Speaker Ryan might introduce the horrible Goodlatte bill (which offers only a temporary protection for Dreamers and gobs of border enforcement) or another compromise bill offering Dream plus maybe Trump’s border wall. Either battle scenario could result in heavy losses for the 15 million people living in border communities, including 1 out of every 5 Dreamers. To make us hold our breath more, the conservative Freedom Caucus threatened to kill the Farm Bill unless an immigration proposal was considered first. True to their promise, the Farm Bill went down right before press time. This definitely doesn’t mean we can breathe easy now. In fact, at press time, 196 congressional members (including the 20 Republicans) had signed on to the discharge petition.
_Old habits die hard. Making matters worse, Rep. Steny Hoyer said that Democrats were open to funding Trump’s $25 billion wall in exchange for a DACA fix__which created a collective groan from border communities. Rep. Filemon Vela, whose district is on the border, noted the absurdity of this statement, “. . .The sad truth is that border communities cannot count on current Democratic leadership to protect this country from the ever-expanding acceptance of Trump’s atrocious border wall.” Need we remind our electeds that the majority of Americans don’t want a border wall and even more want a Dream Act? This tactic of surrender hasn’t worked before (read: Corker-Hoeven, circa 2013), why would it now?
_Symptoms of Despotism. We’ve noted a few times already that when the president doesn’t get his way, he throws a huge #TanTrump. He’s set his latest sights on DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for not doing enough from his perspective. Wow, really? Watch how she coldly responds to Sen. Kamala Harris’s questions about parents being prosecuted for crossing the border_many of whom are fleeing violence and seeking asylum_and tearing their children away from them in the process. She’s jumping the snark shark.
_True Border Demographics. Did you know that “the border zone is home to 65 percent of the entire U.S. population, and around 75 percent of the U.S. Latino population…” and that this zone “includes some of the densest cities_New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. It also includes all of Michigan and Florida, and half of Ohio and Pennsylvania”? Check out the super interesting border zone maps in this Citylab story that also quotes SBCC steering committee member Jorge Rodriguez of the ACLU of New Mexico. The article also notes how ineffective interior checkpoints are_less than 2 percent of the arrests are for deportable people and most are of U.S. citizens for carrying small amounts of drugs that some states consider legal. Eliminating these wasteful checkpoints seems to make sense, no?
_Please consider making a donation to “The Thin Green Line,” a critical documentary of how living under the boot of Border Patrol has resulted in devastating losses for our communities, including the erosion of our rights and excessive use of force.
border_lines is published every Friday for your reading pleasure. If you’d like to submit an item for inclusion, please email Vicki B. Gaubeca at Vicki@alliancesd.org, by Wednesday COB.