We’re taking Independence Day weekend off_that means no border_lines next Friday, July 5th.
_Our very own Communications Director Hiram Soto shares our border community's call for change: we need a New Border Vision that challenges us to think about what we want our borders to look like; only border communities should decide this.
_SBCC co-chair Johana Bencomo of New Mexico Comunidades en Acción y de Fé (CAFé) and steering committee member Nia Rucker of the ACLU of New Mexico note how the U.S. District Courthouse in Las Cruces, NM, is prosecuting up to 100 people a day for simply seeking a better life.
_SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee got to call BS on Trump’s assertion that San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer thanked him for building a wall in the San Diego area; an allegation that even the mayor’s office denied.
_SBCC steering committee member Adriana Jasso of American Friends Service Committee spoke about how they are reminding people of their rights under the ongoing threat of mass immigration raids made by Trump’s administration.
_It was not surprising to learn of the unscrupulous_if not felonious,_ethics of border militia members that led to the arrest of members who claim a false defense of the nation, such as one member recently arrested for impersonating an officer, preceded by the arrest of another for carrying a weapon as a convicted felon.
_Bogus POTUS. Frankly, a real U.S. president, we hope, wouldn’t be behind the abominable and inhumane conditions in which children, toddlers, and infants are held at Border Patrol stations as reported by a group of attorneys (including star Human Rights Watch attorney Clara Long), “We spoke with an 11-year-old caring for his toddler brother. Both were fending for themselves in a cell with dozens of other children. The little one was quiet with matted hair, a hacking cough, muddy pants and eyes that fluttered closed with fatigue. As we interviewed the two brothers, he fell asleep on two office chairs drawn together, probably the most comfortable bed he had used in weeks. They had been separated from an 18-year-old uncle and sent to the Clint Border Patrol Station. When we met them, they had been there three weeks and counting.” A real president wouldn’t allow the extreme overcrowding found by the DHS Office of the Inspector General at a Border Patrol station in El Paso, Texas, where 900 people were held in a facility that had the capacity to hold only 125 people. Government inspectors noted people were standing on the toilets in overcrowded cells “to make room and gain breathing space, thus limiting access to the toilets.” And, what kind of president allows for a lack of coordination among government agencies that results in children sleeping on cold floors for weeks when there are beds available? Well, we’ll tell you what kind. A heartless, Chaos-in-Chief kind of president.
_Overwhelming tragedy. In just 12 days, we learned of the tragic deaths of Gurupreet Kaur, 6, in the Arizona desert near Lukeville; of a young woman, 20, who perished with two infants and a toddler near McAllen, Texas (read our statement quoting yours truly and Christina Patino Houle of the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voices Network); and of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, 24, and his daughter Valeria, almost 24 months, near Matamoros, Tamaulipas. The deaths of Óscar and Valeria went viral when a tragic photo was published in several social media and news stories that literally put a human face on Trump’s failed and horrific policies, particularly the cruel policy known as “metering,” which forces asylum seekers to put their names on a waiting list before they can make an asylum claim at a port of entry. Vulnerable families, pregnant women, or members of the LGBTQ community who have traveled thousands of miles across Mexico to our southern border, who are then made to wait in unwelcoming, and sometimes violent, northern Mexican cities for weeks or months_with no way to make a living_will and do become desperate enough to risk their lives and those of their children. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. We need a bolder New Border Vision.
_Deck chairs on the Titanic. Hard to tell what’s happening, but it kinda felt this week that we_again_saw tons of moving chairs and an agency unable to deal with a crisis of its own administration’s making when Acting CBP Chief John Sanders quit and was replaced by ICE acting director Mark Morgan, who doesn’t believe the problems at Border Patrol custody are “systemic.” Meanwhile, some are pressuring Trump to remove acting DHS director Kevin McAleenan. Here’s an article that notes that this s**t is chaos. Hmmmmn.
_And the survey says. Thank you to all the folks who responded _sometimes passionately_about whether or not we should call immigration detention centers “concentration camps.” All who responded said “yes.” Our favorite comment was from Kathy Bradley, “I assume those who take offense at the use of the term would rather deny reality for their own comfort than confront the reality of the unconscionable cruelty and abuse being perpetrated by our government.” So. Word. Right?
_Let them eat cake. Imagine baking a cake that eliminates important protections for children in U.S. immigration custody and discourages people, particularly of color, to come to the great melting pot of ‘merica. The primary ingredients are more than a handful of cruel deterrence tactics, like criminalizing people for seeking a better life, throwing them into federal prisons before even getting a hearing with an immigration judge, ripping their children from their arms and tossing infants and toddlers into cages. Add and stir heaping bottlenecks at migrant children shelters by slowing releases to sponsors, at long-term and short-term detention facilities by holding families and children for weeks if not months, posing an “imminent threat” to their health, at ports of entry by reducing to a trickle the entry of asylum-seekers through “metering,” and in northern Mexican cities by sending thousands back to wait for their immigration hearings, which then forces them to desperately cross the border in places that puts their lives at risk. (By the way, it says a lot when asylum officers filed an amicus brief against this last program..er...or should we say “ingredient?”) Bake for about 2.5 years in low, but intense heat. Just for good measure, also release thousands of families into U.S. border communities to make the cake even more swirly and chaotic. Then add $4.6 billion of supplemental icing. And there, that’s how you “manufacture a crisis.” Who wants to have his cake and eat it?
_A bandaid and 10 matches. It was really disappointing to see the House pass the Senate version of the $4.6 billion supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2019 to address the humanitarian crisis at our borderlands. It’s a really bad idea to reward DHS with more taxpayer dollars after it has completely failed to provide a humane and orderly process at the border, put the lives of children at risk, and without adequate guardrails to ensure standards are met and the money spent wisely. Frankly, we need a #NewBorderVision that invests in communities, not enforcement-only policies.
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.