_Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee speaks about how immigrant rights groups have been “outgunned” by the inhumane and enormously profiting immigrant detention and border enforcement corporations.
_SBCC co-chair Christina Patiño Houle of Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network and ally Rosa Sanluis of Fuerza del Valle spoke on a panel that focused on bringing the voice of Texan Rio Grande Valley workers into the #MeToo movement as a way to stop on-the-job sexual harassment.
_SBCC steering committee member Adriana Jasso of American Friends Service Committee talks about a San Diego State University study that highlights the corruption that exists among CBP officers and agents.
_These CBS news stories on the effects of cruel family separations will simply break your heart.
_Please join us in supporting United We Dream’s immigrant youth by sharing these videos illustrating the challenges experienced by current DACA holders and join the campaign #HomeIsHere.
_#MeToo at CBP. This week we witnessed yet another example of U.S. Border Patrol’s impunity and lack of accountability or transparency when a high-ranking agent who sexually assaulted a colleague was allowed to retire shortly after being arrested and indicted. The agent, Gus Zamora, is married to the recently appointed El Paso Border Patrol Sector Chief Gloria Chavez. Former Border Patrol agent and SBCC ambassador Jenn Budd explained that it was not uncommon for women to be physically or verbally assaulted in the agency that is predominantly run by male agents. “There’s not a single woman in the Border Patrol who has either not been sexually assaulted, outright raped or at the very least sexually harassed,” she said. The agency has the lowest percentage of female agents (less than 5 percent) when compared to other federal law enforcement agencies. We’re in wait of the final straw that will bring accountability and oversight to this agency. Contact us if you want to share your story. We’ve got your back.
_Lawbreakers Anonymous. Seriously, DHS needs a support group to help it process its illicit, illegal and possibly unconstitutional practices. For example, while implementing it’s horrific and cruel “Remain in Mexico” program (which is double-speakly called Migrant Protection Protocols, MPP), we learned that Border Patrol agents have no qualms about using fake addresses (e.g., “Facebook”) before sending refugees back to homelessness on the streets in Mexico to wait for their court hearings. This is all part of making life for people who are seeking a better life doubly-worse. As you may know, last month the administration opened a series of “tent courts” as a new perverse obstacle for refugees at the border. No one, no lawyers, no journalists, no family members, no human rights defenders, no elected officials_simply no one_is allowed to go into these fake courts to witness the shenanigans and multiple due process violations. We would love to be a fly on the wall in the oval office to see what new version of hell they come up with next.
_Profound suffering. As if THAT wasn’t enough, the administration sets not only bad policy, but then violates its own bad policies with complete and obsessive disregard to any laws. One choice example is returning Mexicans to Mexico when they apply for asylum, partly because Border Patrol agents preemptively think that no Mexican is eligible for asylum. This practice contradicts Trump’s recent “asylum transit ban” that forces refugees to seek asylum in the first country they go through, banning them from applying for asylum in the United States until after they’ve been denied elsewhere. Exactly what country would Mexican asylum-seekers transit through? SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative clearly thinks this practice is illegal (and we agree!). MPP is also not supposed to apply to vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, members of the LGBTQ community, or people with disabilities, but_as per usual_Border Patrol ignores even its own guidelines. This is probably why 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro made a point of escorting a group from Matamoros, Mexico to Brownsville, Texas. Sadly, all 12 were returned the same day. Clearly, our government could care less about placing the most vulnerable at risk for extortion, assault, illness and death. We shouldn’t thus be surprised to learn that a few hundred brave souls are engaging in a peaceful protest at the bridge. And while we’re at it, let’s not forget that it’s not just Latin Americans who are now forced to “remain” in Mexico, but thousands of people from African countries and elsewhere. An isolationist, closed border policy will_as history has shown_come back to bite us in the butt. Mark these words.
_Bulldozer-in-Chief. Without regard to tribal sovereignty, environmental or cultural harms, Trump is recklessly bulldozing and destroying our borderlands in Arizona to make way for his deadly vanity wall. Public outrage is falling on deaf ears, despite the fact that because of this construction we may never recover from the losses of precious wildlife and unique cacti of the borderlands. As noted by Gizmodo reporter Brian Kahn, “The border wall going up in the park in many ways encapsulates the rotten core of the administration — from its flagrant disregard for the law to its willingness to trample the environment to outright cruelty, all in the service of the distilled racism at its heart.” A performance protest at the new wall near Lukeville, Ariz., illustrates its ridiculous 30-foot height. Meanwhile, land is also sadly being cleared in Donna, Texas for more border wall, creating much concern for local residents and elected officials. The Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas rightfully filed a suit against the government for desecrating their ancestral lands and ignoring their sovereignty. Please support an end to this travesty by calling or writing your local elected congressional members and telling them to put a stop to this destruction and to #DefundHate.
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 [email protected], by Wednesday COB.