Drama Queen-in-Chief - March 23, 2018 border_lines

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One_liners

_Thanks to all who signed our petition to stop Trump from getting his “big, beautiful” border wall during the $1.3 trillion spending deal negotiations, because, you know what, we could not have done it without you! (more on spending bill below).

_The Senate confirmed, by a vote of 77 to 19, the nomination of Kevin McAleenan as the new Customs and Border Protection commissioner, and we had this to say about it.

_After being falsely accused of human trafficking in the media, a woman who was arrested violently by Border Patrol in front of her daughters in National City, California, was released under her own recognizance charged with only an immigration violation.

_New SBCC steering committee member Lilian Serrano of Alianza Comunitaria and Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee, also a steering committee member, spoke out against ICE community raids in Escondido, California.

_New SBCC steering committee member Kevin Bixby of Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC) was quoted about a lawsuit SWEC and other environmental organizations filed to block the conversion of 20 miles of vehicle barriers to bollard fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border near Santa Teresa, NM.

Must_reads

_Drama Queen-in-Chief. Trump threw a threat-to-veto tantrum before eventually signing a $1.3 trillion spending bill for fiscal year 2018, which according to him didn’t have enough wall in it. His move had pundits guessing as to a motive. But in real drama queen fashion, he caved and warned he would never sign a bill like it again. We’ll see, I guess.  Everything can have drama if it's done right. Even a pancake. (Julia Child).

_So, what’s in the bill? In short, bad riders (like defunding “sanctuary cities”) were kept out, only a fraction ($1.6 billion vs $25 billion) of Trump’s wall was funded (and part of this funding is set for technologies), and there was no funding for more Border Patrol agents, but it did increase funding to CBP. Another small win was that the bill prohibited any physical barrier at the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge (you might remember our wildly successful video about it), but there are still many nature preserves along the border at risk and_frankly_fencing and levees are just as harmful as a wall to the environment and border communities. The bill, which was passed in the House by a vote of 256-167 and in the Senate by a vote of 65-32, also did not include adequate CBP accountability and oversight measures. Here’s what we had to say about it. We were also deeply disappointed that the omnibus did not include a DACA fix. For a more detailed analysis, go here. Money often costs too much (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

_Justice Delayed. After five long years and as many postponements, the second-degree murder trial against Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz started this week in Tucson, Arizona,  for the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez. Based on video surveillance released last July, Swartz seemed to walk up to the border fence in Nogales, Arizona, and indiscriminately shoot, hitting Elena 10 times in the back as the teen stood in Nogales, Sonora. Swartz’s trial is the first time a Border Patrol agent faces a federal court in a use-of-force death. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere (Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

_Border Patrol agents: No wall needed. So for many years now, border communities have heard directly from Border Patrol sector chiefs and agents that there is enough fencing on the border and that it only helps in urban areas. In fact, most of the fencing/wall required in the Secure Fence Act of 2006 has been built. So, it came as no surprise to us that Senate Democrats issued a report illustrating that the majority of Border Patrol agents don’t think a wall should be prioritized. When we begin to build walls of prejudice, hatred, pride, and self-indulgence around ourselves, we are more surely imprisoned than any prisoner behind concrete walls and iron bars (Mother Angelica).

_Time to Reflect. The FY2018 omnibus has now been signed into law, and it wasn’t the greatest bill, but it also was not as bad as we were expecting. Our next battle is just around the corner when the conversations start up around the FY2019 DHS spending bill, and we also have some work left to do, like getting solid accountability and oversight measures in place to prevent further CBP abuse, strengthening the constitutional rights of border communities, and getting the Dream Act passed without further border militarization. But first, let’s just take some time to relax, reflect and refresh. There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest (Elie Weasel). #WallsDontWork #DefundHate #RevitalizeNotMilitarize

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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.

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