Gotta Say... - September 28, 2018 - border_lines

ONE_LINERS

_SBCC Border Dreamer Allyson Duarte, a community advocate in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, shares the reality of life in the borderlands and as an immigrant.

_This memo, obtained via a public records request by Open the Government and the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), clearly shows DHS Secretary Nielsen knew that the consequences of the Administration’s “zero-tolerance policy” would be children torn away from their moms and dads at the border.

_Get a true sense of the most remote and beautiful wilderness regions of the borderlands and the ongoing environmental and humanitarian disaster created by a border wall.

_This story describes technologies that are being looked into to build a “virtual wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border, including those used by driverless cars.

MUST_READS

_Gotta say. Trump’s perennial assertion that we need more border walls is not only disgraceful, but a downright affront to border communities. On very short notice, a group of El Pasoans came out to protest a CBP press conference announcing four miles of new wall in El Paso, Texas. (You can hear the protest chants start about four minutes into the video). Unsurprisingly, CBP disregarded community concerns and began building the ridiculous and harmful wall. And this story illustrates how the City of Laredo seems to have no choice in the matter of new wall in their community. Does this strike you as a disconcerting disregard to our democracy? It does to us.

_Stealth budgeting. While no one was looking, the House passed, 361-61, a spending bill that funds most of the federal government for Fiscal Year 2019. The bill also contained a continuing resolution to keep the same funding levels for other agencies, like Homeland Security, until December 7, thus postponing the debate on more controversial spending items like the border wall. The Senate had already passed an identical spending bill, 93-7. This seems to be the first time in a very long while (22 years!) that a federal budget gets congressional approval before a deadline and without so much as a peep. That was a neat trick. Then_without a fuss_Trump signed the bill, passing it into law. We’ve got our work cut out for us. #NoBorderWall

_Taking public opinion too lightly? Poll after poll has shown that the public does not support a border wall. Here’s yet another poll that surfaced this week that shows that 55% of registered voters would not vote for a candidate that supports a border wall. America’s Voice provides this analysis of the poll that also reminds us how the majority of voters would back a candidate who supports a solution for Dreamers. Will democracy prevail?

_For the grace of wildlife. One of the most odious effects of a border wall, as illustrated by this article that quotes SBCC Steering Committee Member Kevin Bixby of Southwest Environmental Center and SBCC ally Astrid Dominguez of the ACLU Border Rights Center, is how it has caused flooding that has literally killed wildlife. Irreparable damage to our environment is only one of the many harmful effects of a border wall. Definitely do not need any more of it.

_Setting a dangerous precedent. We got wind a few weeks ago that_at the urging of the Trump administration_the Department of Homeland Security requested a $450 million transfer of Department of Defense funds to convert an existing 18-foot border wall at the Barry M. Goldwater Range in Arizona to a 30-foot wall. Four ranking Democratic congressional members wrote a letter opposing this transfer. To use Department of Defense resources to build a useless wall sets a dangerous precedent that will inevitably contribute to our already hyper-militarized border communities. Mission creep, anyone?

_Closure needed. The shortsightedness of border policies has led to more deaths as migrants are forced into more dangerous, remote regions of the border. To request the U.S. government play a more active role in helping identify human remains so they can be returned to their families, our partners at the Colibri Center for Human Rights and the Forensic Border Coalition will be testifying at a hearing convened by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights on Friday, October 5, at 10:15 a.m. MDT, at the University of Colorado Law School. The IACHR will broadcast the session live on its website. Please help lift their testimony by calling your congressional members and asking they own up to their responsibility to establish a system that allows for a large-scale comparison of all available DNA information from relatives of missing migrants against all DNA data from unidentified remains found on U.S. soil. Here’s where money for a dumb border wall can be better spent. Just #RevitalizeNotMilitarize already.

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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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