_This Arizona Daily Star editorial summarizes well how border communities feel when policy makers a thousand miles away make nonsensical decisions about their home, like deploying active-duty troops that ultimately have a detrimental effect on local businesses.
_SBCC steering committee member Mark Adams talks about the compassion-filled response of U.S. and Mexico communities of faith to the families fleeing violence in Central America seeking to protect their children.
_It’s crazy talk and undoubtedly unconstitutional, but Trump announced he would end birthright citizenship via a unilateral executive fiat.
_Catch-22-o-rama. Since the spring, Trump has been using a Catch-22 strategy to deal with a crisis of his own making by intentionally jamming up ports of entry for refugee families fleeing violence and seeking protections for their children. The vicious cycle is simple, tell the folks seeking asylum that they need to go to a port of entry to apply, then_and possibly illegally_turn them away from the port of entry when they arrive, creating a backup in Mexico. Now he’s attempting to codify the Catch-22 by moving to restrict asylum claims to only those people who present themselves at ports of entry and banning asylum relief to people who turn themselves in to Border Patrol agents between ports of entry. Making another turn of the screw, CBP officials moved to evict families who have been waiting to apply for asylum at the El Paso ports of entry. SBCC allies Cynthia Pompa and Shaw Drake of the ACLU Border Rights Center warn that this vicious cycle is putting the lives of these families at risk. Families have the right to seek asylum. It’s time to stop this quandary; we’re better than this.
_Get the facts. After the midterm election results, we quickly pulled together a national media briefing that provided expert analysis by southern border community advocates and allies of the next steps for the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Homeland Security budget fight and the scenarios that might play out before temporary funding for the agency runs out on Dec. 7. Congress returns to DC next week for the start of the lame duck session - and we expect they will soon turn to the budget fight. And, to be honest, we’re gearing up for an ugly fight. On the table is a DHS funding proposal from the House that includes $5 billion for the border wall and surveillance technologies, plus more border enforcement agents and another proposal from the Senate that includes $1.6 billion for the border wall, plus surveillance technologies and more agents. Both proposals are misguided and wasteful, and perpetuate the false notion that we need to further militarize the southern border, one of the the most diverse, economically vibrant, and safest areas of the country, and home to about 15 million people. SBCC steering committee member Andrea Guerrero of Alliance San Diego and yours truly explain why funding more border militarization and wall is a bad idea. Read more about our message here. Time to go back to the drawing board and cut funding for Trump’s vanity wall.
_Most likely scenario. We anticipate that Trump will approach the lame-duck DHS funding negotiations as his last chance for his vanity border wall -- and that he will demand many billions over what he asked from Congress in his fiscal year 2019 budget request. He will probably do so by continuing to rely on fear-mongering and mischaracterizations about immigrants and border communities in spite of the fact that the majority of voters do not want a wall and border walls are ineffective and harmful, wasteful and deadly to border communities, our environment, and our wildlife. We will say it as many times as we need to: WALLS DON’T WORK!
_Galling.You know what chafes our chaps? When government officials don’t consider community input meaningfully. CBP recently conducted a “listening session” in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, to allegedly hear from community members about their concerns for a border wall slicing through their lands. They did so via a webinar and in English, thus excluding non-computer/internet users and monolingual or first-language Spanish-speaking landowners. SBCC ally Laiken Jordahl of the Center for Biological Diversity noted how CBP using a webinar is “a cowardly substitute for meeting face-to-face with the public.” We couldn’t agree more.
_Are active-duty troops even necessary? Instead of a humanitarian response that reflects our nation’s best core values, Trump has chosen to meet children and their parents fleeing violence_many still hundreds of miles away from the border_with the barrel of a gun and more troops than the Pentagon has deployed to Afghanistan. This OpEd written by SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee illustrates the evil and pernicious intent behind these political theatrics. He notes, “There is no sense in reasoning with Trump, but rational, level-headed policymakers should stand up for their constituents by ending costly, ineffective and inhumane policies that have heavily militarized the U.S.-Mexico border region and undermined the quality of life of border communities.” Even one of our highest-ranking admirals thinks it’s not a good idea to send active-duty troops to the border. Got it?
_Here we come again. Yes, we will be joined by the Northern Border Coalition and going to DC again, spending as much time as we need there to educate congressional members on how our communities are fed up with the decades-long assaults on our rights and quality of life, all in the name of political theatrics. Many elected officials from both parties aid and abet this false narrative to gain political points and we intend to hold them accountable. Our hope is that congress will start valuing the both the northern and the southern border as a place of encounter, opportunity and hope -- not as places of hate, exclusion and out-of-control militarization. Please support us and tell your congressional members to #RevitalizeNotMilitarize our border communities.
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.