_In a blatant attempt to deter families fleeing from violence and seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, DHS officials threaten to prosecute parents who cross the border with their children.
_Patagonia, Arizona, is the latest municipality to issue a resolution against the harmful border wall, joining more than 30 other cities and counties.
_Johana Bencomo, Director of Organizing for New Mexico Comunidades en Acción y de Fé (NM CAFé) and Andrea Guerrero, Executive Director at Alliance San Diego were elected co-chairs of the Southern Border Communities Coalition by the SBCC steering committee.
_¿Qué what? It’s truly remarkable, even on the verge of embarrassing, how Border Patrol is claiming a 73% increase in assaults on its agents in an attempt to paint a false narrative about the dangers faced in their jobs. Admittedly, any job in law enforcement faces dangers, but according to a recent CATO Institute study, the chances of average Americans being killed are much higher than the chances of this happening to Border Patrol agents. Adding to the myth-busting is this in-depth report, which quotes SBCC steering committee member Mike Seifert of the ACLU of Texas, and reveals that the spike in assaults of Border Patrol agents was the result of changes in how the agency now counts these assaults. For example, “an incident in the Rio Grande Valley Sector on February 14, 2017, involved seven U.S. Border Patrol Agents assaulted by six subjects utilizing three different types of projectiles (rocks, bottles, and tree branches), totaling 126 assaults.” So, to clarify, instead of counting this as seven assaults, which is standard police procedure, the agency multiplied seven agents by six offenders by three projectiles--adding 119 assaults to this one incident! Seriously, liars liars, pants on fire.
_No Justice, No Peace. Much to the disappointment of border communities and the families of loved ones killed by CBP, Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz was found not guilty of second degree murder in the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez. The jury also did not find consensus on the lesser charges of involuntary and voluntary manslaughter. Hundreds of protesters blocked Tucson streets after the verdict was announced. The verdict also prompted this Fitzsimmons cartoon. SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative expressed her concerns and disappointment. Federal prosecutors are considering filing new charges. We issued a statement here. Hands up, don’t shoot.
_Hey hey, Ho ho, CBP mafia has got to go. So in addition to cooking up numbers and seeming to get away with murder, CBP officials also continue to have problems with corruption as noted by SBCC co-chair Andrea Guerrero of Alliance San Diego, “this is worrisome because [CBP employees] have this extraordinary power, and they have a de facto immunity because they have no meaningful oversight and accountability.” Along these lines, a Border Patrol agent was recently sentenced to 70 months in prison for drug trafficking. Cases like these could be prevented if Border Patrol agents were required to wear body worn cameras. Just saying.
_How much? This article that attempts to estimate the costs of deploying National Guard troops to the border noted that “in a congressional testimony published back in April 17, 2012, Major General John Nichols, who leads the Texas National Guard, revealed that the deployment costs the U.S. a total of $1.2 billion, working out to approximately $200,000 per troop, or $100,000 per troop per year.” Wouldn’t it be cool if school teachers got paid that much a year instead? The ACLU of Texas, an SBCC anchor organization, filed a public records request to find out more about the National Guard’s role and costs.
_What part of “no” do they not get? So, ICYMI, Trump’s fiscal year 2019 budget request for DHS, reiterated by Secretary Nielsen during a recent congressional hearing, includes hiring 750 additional Border Patrol agents and 2,000 ICE officers, building 65 miles of new border wall along the southwest border, and upping ICE detention beds to 52,000, including 2,500 beds reserved for family units. Trump is also asking, again, for Congress to fully fund a border wall as requested in the FY 2018 budget ($18 billion). These requests clearly aim to beef up Trump’s deportation force. And are being made in spite of the fact there is a 46-year low in border apprehensions and a failure by DHS to prove there is a need for new personnel. Call your congressional members and tell them to just say “no” to more agents, more wall, and more beds.
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.