_Federal prosecutors dropped the misdemeanor charges against humanitarian volunteer Scott Warren (for his attempt to save lives), effectively ending their case against him —a case, btw, that shouldn’t have been filed against him to begin with.
_Border Patrol once again resists transparency and brazenly interferes with an investigation by the House Oversight Committee into a secret Facebook page that contained sexist and inappropriate posts by border patrol agents.
_A big shout out goes out to the ACLU for getting Greyhound to stop allowing Border Patrol agents from boarding their buses traveling within the United States to ask passengers for “their papers.”
_Speaking of the ACLU, today we joined them and the Sierra Club in filing a new lawsuit to challenge the Trump administration’s transfer of an additional $3.8 billion in military funds for border wall construction, money Congress did not authorize.
_Families forced to await their U.S. immigration hearings in Mexico as part of Trump’s cruel “Migrant Protection Protocols” face a situation of insecurity and danger, says SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative.
_It’s about time we see a 2020 presidential candidate listening and totally getting border communities; here’s hoping others catch on.
_Border voices strong. In a show of complete disregard to the voices of the southern border, CBP invited the media to witness the blasting and desecration of Monument Hill, a sacred site for the Tohono O’odham Nation, on the same day that Tribal Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. spoke against the blasting at a congressional hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States.
“I know in my heart and what our elders have told us and what we have learned that that area is home to our ancestors,” said Chairman Norris. “And by blasting, and doing what we saw today, has totally disturbed, totally forever damaged our people.”
— Tribal Chairman Ned Norris, Jr.
Chairman Norris also spoke before the House Homeland Security Committee’s Border Security, Facility and Operations Subcommittee, where he was joined by two private landowners from the Lower Rio Grande, Texas, who were brought to DC by the Texas Civil Rights Project, an SBCC ally organization.
“For me, the border wall is just another example of the lack of respect for land rights, and will only waste taxpayers’ money for a vanity project that will lead to more deaths."
— Rey Anzaldua, border landowner from Granjeno, Texas
This is what another landowner, whose property has been in her family for generations, had to say:
“The government is hastily rushing through construction processes in anticipation of the 2020 elections. It is waiving all laws, without any real concern for the landowners, the land, and wildlife. I have seen maps that are incomplete at best, showing that the government is not fully documenting the land and taking into account the geography or topography of it, and its ability to withstand such a monstrous construction project. . .The government plans to build a wall and a maintenance road just feet from my house. They describe a 150-foot wide “enforcement zone” between my house and the river – but my home is just 200 feet from the Rio Grande River and the land closest to the river is unstable and subject to erosion. When I asked government officials how they will fit the wall between my home and the river, they simply said they would “squeeze it in.”
— Nayda Alvarez, border landowner from La Rosita, Texas
The Southern Border Communities Coalition and its partners are working to stop Trump’s costly and dangerous border wall. We submitted a statement for the record to both hearings; our press statement is here. Enough, already.
_Murder sanctioned. SCOTUS ruled this week that constitutional protections and government accountability do not travel with a bullet that lands in foreign soil, even if it was shot by a border patrol agent standing in the United States. The ruling was related to the death of Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca,15, (presente!) who was fatally shot by a border patrol agent while playing with friends in a dry concrete culvert between the United States and Mexico, near El Paso, Texas. Ever since SBCC has been tracking deaths by border agents, there have been six lethal cross-border shootings since 2010, half of whom were teen-agers. Sergio’s was the first. In none of these cases has an agent been held accountable -- even when video footage suggests the use of lethal force may not have been justified. This is how things go from bad to worse. When SCOTUS decides (again) that it should not intervene in the actions of a federal administration that continually acts above, outside, and around the law. Here’s our statement quoting SBCC co-chairs Christina Patiño Houle of Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network and Johana Bencomo of Comunidades en Acción y de Fé (CAFé). #AbsolutePowerCorruptsAbsolutely
_Speaking of corruption. Well, to be honest, we weren’t super surprised to learn that the FBI is investigating some serious embezzlement of border patrol union funds in the El Paso Sector to the tune of $5 million. But this quote from the article really jumped out at us: “Over the past five years, hundreds of Border Patrol agents have been arrested on charges ranging from drunken driving to murder, causing alarm among congressional leaders, law enforcement experts and the Border Patrol’s own advisory board, which in 2016 warned that criminal misconduct by agents could undermine the agency’s ability to secure the borders.” We’ll just leave it there.
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.