Cruel and Unusual Punishment - June 8, 2018 border_lines


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_We unveiled our new logo today that better reflects our work to promote policies and solutions that improve the quality of life of the 15 million people who live in the borderlands; check out the artist’s inspiration here.

_Per her family’s’ wishes, the body of Claudia Patricia Gómez González, the 20-year-old Guatemalan woman who was fatally shot in the head by a Border Patrol agent, was returned home.   

_Our co-chair Andrea Guerrero noted a need to rein in CBP agents because they are the "only ones that have ‘powers without warrant’" in the border region, which undermines our constitutional 4th amendment protections against illegal searches and seizures.

_Our co-chair Johana Bencomo pushed back against the militarization of our border while SBCC steering committee member Kevin Bixby invited people to reject Trump's wall and reclaim “space for our people and wildlife” at the “All Against the Wall” protest near Santa Teresa, New Mexico, which was attended by more than 400 people.

_SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative expressed her concern about children being torn away from their parents at the border.


_Cruel and Unusual Punishment. There is just no other way to describe the mean-spirited, trauma-inducing actions of the Trump administration against immigrants (many of whom are asylum seekers), families, and_worst of all_children. In the same month U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy against border crossers, federal prosecutions for illegal entry and illegal reentry jumped by 30 percent, resulting in a related increase in newly minted unaccompanied children (many of whom were torn away from their parents facing prosecution). Federal district and magistrate judges, who are now repeatedly hearing in court parents asking to know the whereabouts of their children, have felt overwhelmed and infuriated. And while shelters that house unaccompanied migrant minors are nearly full, more and more children are being held in Border Patrol holding cells longer than 72 hours_the maximum time limit for holding children in these temporary facilities. Fortunately, there has been some blowback about this cruelty_including condemnation by the United Nations_and the ACLU filed a lawsuit, but it has yet to be enough to stop this heinous practice. It’s a heartbreaking horror show.

_Catch-22. So while the Trump administration is prosecuting all individuals entering the country between ports of entry and tearing their children away in the process, it asserts that asylum seekers should present themselves at ports of entry to avoid this horrific treatment. The problem is that people who attempt to present themselves at ports of entry are being turned away because of “capacity” issues and CBP officers are even physically stopping people on the international line. Talk about creating a vicious cycle.

_What’s the difference between a detention center and a prison? As if things couldn’t get any worse, the government announced it will start using federal prisons to detain immigrants. SBCC steering committee Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee cautioned against this practice. Remember where Roxsana Hernandez, a transgender Honduran woman, died because the facility she was in failed to provide her with adequate medical care? It was in Cibola County Detention Center, formerly known as Cibola County Correctional Center, the first federal prison put on the chopping block by Obama for its extremely high record of abuses. Instead of shutting down the prison, it was converted a month later  into an immigration detention center with the same facility, same guards, same private prison company running it...We shouldn’t be treating this badly people who are only trying to improve the lives of their families. We’re better than this.

_Wall Primer. If you’re in DC next week, plan to attend the reception for “Continental Divide: Wildlife, People and the Border Wall,” a photography exhibited co-hosted by Sen Heinrich (D-NM) on Tuesday, June 12, 5 to 7 p.m., in the Russell Senate Office Building, Room 358. The reception will include comments by SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee and SBCC Border Dreamer Allyson Duarte. RSVPs appreciated but not required.

_Machinations Nation: In the next few days, more than 15 million people who live in southern border communities will watch the dust settle after an incredible run of House negotiations and machinations by both Democrats and moderate Republicans to get a DACA policy fix. First, there have been continued efforts to get all the signatures for a discharge petition_aka Queen of the Hill_that would force a vote on four immigration proposals (three of which include border enforcement provisions of varying degrees). This effort, which is shy of only three sponsors of the needed 218, was put slightly on hold to wait for an outcome of a meeting held by the Republican caucus that attempted to find a compromise bill that would derail the discharge petition. But the caucus came to no consensus and instead agreed to extend the deadline to Tuesday, June 12, to see if a compromise can be reached before setting in motion the Queen of the Hill discharge petition. This all may be an exercise in futility though, because it doesn’t seem likely the Senate will move forward a compromise and it seems even more unlikely that Trump will sign it into law. We’ll have to wait and see.

_Our ask is simple. Call your congressional members and tell them to pass a Dream Act and to #DefundHate by not adding to the coffers of CBP and ICE in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget.


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.

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