Any Excuse

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_Share this video on your Facebook or Twitter that illustrates how the Trump administration is waiving a record number of cornerstone federal laws to ramp up the construction of his deadly and hateful border wall.

_Saturday, May 23, 2020 will mark two years since a border patrol agent shot and killed Claudia Patricia Gómez González (presente!), a Maya Mam indigenous woman; her family is still seeking justice.

_Former Senior Border Patrol agent and SBCC ambassador Jenn Budd takes CBP to task for becoming a do-nothing agency operating a shadow immigration system under the false pretext of protecting public health. 

_Congrats to SBCC allies at the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network in Texas who successfully advocated for a resolution to pass the Cameron County Commissioners Court that demands the release of people from ICE detention, prison, and jails to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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_Any excuse. It really shouldn’t surprise us that Trump will use any excuse, including the egregious exploitation of the COVID-19 crisis, to try to further bloat his racist, anti-immigrant deportation machine. Under a thinly veiled guise of protecting public health, the Administration has deported more than 900 children to Mexico or back into danger in the country they fled from, has started to once again “repatriate” people into the interior of Mexico, and has closed the southern border to those seeking protection in the United States, turning them away or rapidly “expelling” them within two hours (average) of apprehension. Public health experts called B.S. on the specious justifications for these tactics and the alleged reasons for implementing them. These public health experts also called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to withdraw the order enabling these summary expulsions and offered an alternative approach that protects both public health and the rights of asylum seekers and children seeking protections at our borders. Our colleagues at the ACLU (including SBCC ally Shaw Drake of the ACLU Border Rights Center) blogged about the functional end to asylum at the border (only two asylum seekers have been allowed to seek protection with the new guidance) and several of our national colleagues (including Amnesty International USA, Latin America Working Group, Physicians for Human Rights, Oxfam, Kids in Need of Defense and the Haitian Bridge Alliance) urged an immediate halt to deportations and expulsions and the prioritization of measures to protect health and safety. We’re facing a pandemic. Shouldn’t we be listening to public health experts?

_Wall B.S. Speaking of BS, it was such a farce to see Trump unabashedly gift a new nearly $1.3 billion contract to his pet private wall contractor, the largest border wall contract to date. Yep, this wall section in Arizona will cost taxpayers (not Mexico) $30 million buckaroos per mile. Already, wall construction on the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona has laid waste to miles of sacred land and environmental national treasures. This article notes that, "For us," tribal chairman Ned Norris, Jr. told Congress in February, "this is no different than the DHS building a 30-foot wall through Arlington Cemetery."  Meanwhile, down in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, the Trump administration is exploiting a “technicality” to push forward plans for a wall that threatens the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, in spite of the fact that Congress explicitly wrote into law that the border wall should not be built on the refuge. Ugh, as if another example of Trump’s blatant disregard of the legislative branch was needed. In rare, but good news, we learned that the Pentagon has pulled funds from a Yuma border wall segment that would've been built on Cocopah Indian Tribal lands in Arizona, and which would have cut off their access to the Colorado River. For background on wall segments, go hereYay, for small miracles! One day, hopefully soon, we will get to see this dumb and harmful wall torn down.

_Family Separation Deja Vu You’d think that DHS officials had learned their lesson_and grown a heart and some integrity_after public outcry over family separations, but it doesn’t seem so. ICE officials went into three family detention centers and gave families a “Sophie’s Choice” -- either remain locked up indefinitely with their children in unacceptable conditions or be separated from their children, relinquishing them to government custody. This so-called choice, under the guise of case law known as the Flores Agreement, is a blatant effort to tear children away from their parents in a cruel attempt to deter asylum seekers. Thank you to the House Judiciary members who wrote a letter asking for an explanation of this policy and practice. Ultimately, the truth is that caging kids and separating families is inexcusable under any circumstance, no?


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.


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