_SBCC steering committee member Alba Jaramillo of Arizona Justice for our Neighbors describes how a $1.25 million Immigrant Relief Fund has benefited families who have been excluded from local, state and federal aid during the COVID-19 pandemic.
_Learn how border wall construction is destroying U.S. cultural heritage sites, including this historically significant cemetery in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
_Yet another government oversight report from the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General shows that the DOJ knew full well that a “zero-tolerance” increase of prosecutions of more people apprehended by CBP would result in family separations_and went full steam ahead with this cruelty nonetheless.
_Dash to the Border. We shouldn’t be surprised that Trump attempted to create a diversion to flee congressional and public censure. Instead of admitting his role in inciting an insurrection at the nation’s Capitol building and paying heed to the worsening humanitarian crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, he made a dash to the southern border to spew even more lies and to vainly autograph his abhorrent border wall (aka, his destructive and lethal vanity project and monument to racism). In fact, as this well-written and poignant Opinion written by none other than the indefatigable Lauren Carlson of the Americas Policy Program, his trip to the border wall failed to distract from a historic (second) impeachment, but made it impossible to escape that the border wall represents a colossal and senseless waste of taxpayer dollars. For starters, these taxpayer dollars could have been invested in an improved public health structure to better distribute life-saving vaccines against COVID, to do more testing and tracing, and to build health care facilities in much-needed areas, such as in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. It’s borderline crazy how Trump is prioritizing work in the last days of his presidency.
_Final wreck-ening. It seems that we’re facing a Trump final wreck-ening, where he and his administration are not only sore about losing the election but are also trying to create roadblocks for the incoming administration to roll back Trump’s cruel and inhumane policies. Take for example how DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf resigned one day, but then abruptly returned_freshly deputized by new DHS Acting Secretary Peter Gaynor_to ratify Wolf’s own policies, including fast-track deportations, further asylum restrictions, and work permit limits for asylum seekers, among many more policies. (See more detail here.) It makes your head spin (and your stomach lurch). These ratifications are an attempt to throw another wrench into the incoming administration’s plans to reverse the deep harms caused by the Trump administration and work to build a humane, functioning immigration system. But, in spite of these wrenches we hope the Biden-Harris administration will persist and stay true to reversing these harms. Other vindictive actions seen in just the last few weeks have been the signing of new contracts with border wall construction companies_along with quick construction through jaguar corridors in Arizona_and the elimination of LGBTQ federal protections. The most recent shameful act was made by Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen who issued a new negative ruling in Matter of A-B-, the Salvadoran asylum case that has become the battleground on the issue of whether survivors of domestic violence, gang brutality, and other abuses can qualify for refugee protection. We stand in solidarity with the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) in asking the Biden administration to restore asylum for people seeking safety. Wreaking havoc, it appears, will be Trump’s legacy.
_Shape shifting. As we start to count down the days left in Trump’s chaotic, erratic tenure, we can’t help but feel a big shift and a sense there may be a shaping up of executive and congressional initiatives towards a more rational, humane, people-first approach. Take for example, how some Republicans are starting to publicly emancipate themselves from the tyranny of Trumpism, House Democrats led a second impeachment, and there has been a corporate and cultural response against Trump. Unity can be found! Because we are in this transitional fuzzy period, it’s easy to imagine what a perfect world would look like under a new administration. First and foremost, we hope the new administration takes a hard look at the history book, including these past four years, and acknowledges all the profound harms caused by the Trump administration in just four years and commits to not repeating the mistakes of the past. And it won’t be enough to simply revoke these harms back to a four-year baseline. We urge the Biden-Harris administration to push forward a new more transformative vision that creates a more welcoming nation, a rights-respecting border governance model, and a humane immigration reform process. Immigrants strengthen our nation. Border communities contribute to the economy, diversity and culture of our nation. Now close your eyes and think of the possibilities. ¡Sí se podrá!
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.