_We agree with the ACLU that DHS officials collecting DNA samples of immigrants in their custody “makes it easier for the government to attack immigrant communities, and brings us one step closer to the government knocking on all of our doors demanding our DNA under the same flawed justification that we may one day commit a crime.”
_A new report by the Office of the Inspector General at Health and Human Services exposes the utter failures in inter-agency communications and preparedness that further traumatized children who were separated from their parents under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.
_Deeply troubling, but not surprising, to learn that the Border Patrol likely waited too long to get help for a man (who happened to be a U.S. citizen) who died in their custody.
_A better course. As new COVID-19 cases continue to pop up around the country, we need to make sure our response uses a better course of treatment and prevention. For example, uninformed and xenophobic folks have wrongly claimed there is a need to close our borders_specifically the southern border_to stop its spread. Trump stated he considered it, but then backtracked his comment. SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative said closing the southern border would be an overreaction, adding, "Actions like closing down the U.S.-Mexico border in a supposed coronavirus response would be just a politicized move that unfortunately would harm the efforts to actually contain the virus, and expend our energy and attention where we need to, based on public health best practices.” Meanwhile, the ACLU shared a letter signed by 450 public health experts that shares a better course of action based on science while protecting human rights and civil liberties as much as possible. We agree that a response can and should be done in an effective and just manner.
_Hookin’ and crookin’. Trump is building the border wall by hook or by crook, which has spawned several lawsuits and protests. Shortly after we filed our joint lawsuit with the ACLU and the Sierra Club, 19 states sued the administration to stop Trump from raiding another $3.8 billion from Pentagon funding to build more miles of his harmful vanity wall. Trump also continues to bully his way into building the wall by tearing land away from private property owners living in the nation’s poorest communities in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. SBCC steering committee member Ricky Garza noted that Trump’s use of eminent domain is a “severe use of government power against people who have very little.” And when CBP announced further construction of the wall, local community leaders expressed frustration and anger by CBP’s lie that extensive consultations had been conducted with community members. Clearly, not.
_MPP whiplash. The court rulings in just the last week on the Migrant Protection Protocols (aka “Remain in Mexico”) really gave us a bit of whiplash. First, the 9th Circuit ruled the program violated U.S. laws and blocked it, then hours later it allowed a stay on the program to give the Trump administration time to ask SCOTUS to review, but also because the government argued it would be overwhelmed at the southern border by asylum applicants. Who created that problem? Then on Wednesday, the 9th Circuit said the program would be blocked in Arizona and California, starting on Thursday, March 12, unless SCOTUS stepped in to lift the block. All we know is that it’s a horrible and cruel program that forces families_including children_seeking safety to wait for their U.S. immigration hearings in untenable and dangerous situations in Mexico. We’re better than this.
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. The Southern Border Communities Coalition is a program of Alliance San Diego.