NOTE: border_lines will go on a holiday break after this week, but will return for your reading pleasure on Friday, January 11.
_This CATO analysis clearly adds to the mountain of evidence that shows how walls are ineffective at stopping drug smuggling_which mainly come through our ports of entry.
_Kudos to SBCC steering committee member Rosa Sanluis of Fuerza del Valle for helping introduce a national policy game changer that would provide protections for domestic workers.
_SBCC steering committee member Lilian Serrano of the National Latino Research Center and the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium comments on this story that notes a large increase in Latinos registering to vote, mostly as independents.
_SBCC steering committee member Mark Adams of Frontera de Cristo talks about this innovative business model that brings quality coffee to U.S. consumers.
_A Tan-Trump Tailspin. It just got crazier and crazier. Just as we thought that common sense would prevail after the Senate passed a stop-gap measure that had zero wall funding and would keep the government in business until February 8, Trump_who had already said he would support this continuing resolution since he could get money for building a wall elsewhere_suddenly caved to a fringe group of radical conservatives and stated he would not sign the measure unless it had $5 billion for his vanity wall. House members then added $5.7 billion of taxpayers dollars to the measure that could be used by CBP for “procurement and construction” and passed_with a simple majority_the amended version, 217-185 (eight Republicans opposed). Trump then demanded senators use the “nuclear option” to pass border wall funding, but this idea was thankfully rejected. At press time, the Senate was likely to defeat the amended continuing resolution, getting us back to square one and a likely shutdown. The Senate then soundly defeated the amended continuing resolution, getting us back to square one and a likely shutdown. All thanks to Trump’s obsession with a harmful and dumb wall and despite the fact that the majority of voters consider a border wall at the bottom of a list of priorities.
_Asylum Catch-22. Several immigration specialists including SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative are calling into question CBP’s claim that they have no capacity to process asylum seekers, which is creating a huge backlog in Mexico. In addition, SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee describes the frustration of asylum seekers forced to wait in Tijuana, Mexico, which then pushes them to cross between ports of entry. On the other end of the border, SBCC steering committee member Christina Patiño-Houle of the Lower Rio Grande Equal Voices Network in Texas notes that asylum seekers at the Roma, Texas, port of entry are being sent to Hidalgo, Texas, the border town to Reynosa, which has been dubbed “the migrant kidnapping capital” of Mexico. In the same story, SBCC ally Nia Rucker of the ACLU of New Mexico noted that people seeking to apply for asylum at the remote Antelope Wells, New Mexico, port of entry_the problematic site that may have contributed to the death of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal, would find nothing there. And yet, Trump’s administration would rather spend billions of dollars on erecting dumb, harmful walls, and not on port-of-entry infrastructure.
_Drama Palooza. Among the crazy headlines this week on Syria and General Mattis, was this announcement by DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen that asylum seekers would have to wait in Mexico while their claims are reviewed in U.S. immigration courts. Maybe this was a parting shot by the Secretary, but it turns out it might be illegal. There are also many questions that come up, including about how this plan will be implemented; whether or not asylum seekers will be allowed to approach the ports of entry or will CBP continue to block them; who will decide if an asylum seeker has a fear of persecution in Mexico (think about it, will Border Patrol, CBP, or the asylum officer travel to Mexico to conduct the credible fear interviews and will they deem that people who fear staying in Mexico as a credible fear?); how will asylum seekers access U.S. legal counsel while in Mexico?; and, finally, will asylum seekers have an opportunity to appear in person before an immigration judge? This just seems to be another example of how Trump’s administration wants to abdicate from their responsibilities in fulfilling U.S. and international laws and de-stabilize the homes of the more than 15 million people who call the border home. Just stop already with the xenophobia.
_Where Trump could spend $5 billion. A Congressional delegation visiting the New Mexico bootheel area where Jakelin Caal, 7, became fatally ill learned that improving ports of entry and holding cells, as well as ensuring life-saving health care assessments and treatment are provided to immigrants_particularly children_in Border Patrol custody would be a much better way to spend taxpayers dollars. In San Ysidro, California, a 5-month old girl also fell ill with pneumonia after spending five days detained in Border Patrols short-term custody cells, also known as ‘hieleras’ (freezers).
_Our ask. It’s quite possible that by the time you read border_lines we will be either facing: (1) a complete failure of leadership and a Christmas government shutdown (2) a ridiculous_and harmful_amount of money ($5.71B) on border security or (3) a “clean” continuing resolution until Feb. 8, 2019. Regardless of the outcome, all of us (border communities and voters) should ask ourselves_especially after this week’s histrionics_what we want to be known for? Do we want to be known for having the best healthcare in the world or the best educational system? Do we want to be known as having the best roads and bridges and ports of entry that facilitate consumer purchases and trade that contribute to our nation’s job creation and economy? Or do we want to be known for a stupid border wall that profoundly damages our border communities, decimates our wildlife_including endangered and protected species, rips land away from private property owners, and causes dangerous flooding? What do you think? How about we #RevitalizeNotMilitarize our communities and say #NoMoreBorderWalls.
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.