_A big thank you to Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), who led the chairs of the Congressional Progressive, Hispanic, Black and Asian Pacific American Caucuses in a letter opposing additional Fiscal Year 2019 funding for border wall.
_Trump has clearly shown he will do anything_like shutting down the government_for his boondoggle wall, but robbing from the military to pay for a wall is a new low that even Republicans would oppose.
_"Our job is to welcome human beings and their dignity. See each mom and say, 'That could be me.' See a child and say, 'That could have been me," notes SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative.
__Make a meaningful donation to the many organizations on both sides of the border who are on the ground helping many refugee families with shelter, food, warm showers and assistance to get to their destination cities by visiting the border-wide list we compiled here.
_Another reason why border walls don’t work: it will interfere with a private rocket enterprise_Elon Musk’s SpaceX_in Boca Chica State Park near Brownsville, Texas, seriously affecting the local economy (again).
_Death by border militarization. This week, we learned of the tragic death of Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died from exhaustion, septic shock, and dehydration after being in Border Patrol custody. This little girl had been part of a group, including her father, that turned themselves in to Border Patrol agents in a remote part of New Mexico while crossing between the ports of entry (and possibly wandering for days in the high desert). Many other questions are begging to be asked in this tragic death. For example, what did Border Patrol agents do after the group was apprehended? Did they offer the children in the group water? Did they take the temperature of the children to see if they were running a fever? What sort of medical assessment was made of the children in the group? Why did it take a week for CBP to tell Congress and the public about her death? Our hope is that Congress not only acknowledges the deadly implications of border wall/fencing, but that this tragedy becomes an important learning opportunity for Border Patrol so they can prevent a child’s death from happening again. We had this to say about it. Also, SBCC ally Cynthia Pompa of the ACLU Border Rights Center expressed serious concerns about Border Patrol’s “culture of cruelty and lack of accountability” and urged reforms. Shouldn’t this make sense?
_Facing Down a Tan_Trump shutdown. Many of us watched the live debate between Trump and Democratic Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday and were not so surprised by Trump’s “proud” tantrum demanding $5 billion for a border wall or he would shut down the government over the holidays. We were grateful to see Democrats showing courage by holding steadfast against additional border wall funding. It was definitely a sight for sore eyes worthy of many kudos. Perhaps most refreshing was Trump’s willingness to own the shutdown, as he should, since he has persisted on a unilateral negotiation style that boils down to “it’s my way or the highway.” The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. (Proverb 18:7)
_Let’s get real here. Even the proposal by Democrats to keep the government open and fund DHS would contain $1.375 billion for the wall since continuing resolutions basically carry over the same funding as the prior fiscal year. All these theatrics may be fun to watch for some (popcorn, anyone?), but they also miss the point about why a border wall is a catastrophically bad idea in the first place. Among the many reasons why walls don’t work, is the fact that they are lethal as we just saw in the case of the child who died in Border Patrol custody.
_Let’s unpack this a bit. Why are some asylum seekers crossing between ports of entry? A recent government report showed that many are doing this out of sheer frustration that comes from being forced to wait at ports of entry or at Mexican shelters for several weeks before they can access the asylum process at U.S. ports of entry. This waiting is a direct result of U.S. officers at ports of entry telling asylum seekers they need to wait in Mexico until they have “capacity” to process them. So, why are they crossing in remote and rural parts of the border? Stated simply: because walls have forced them to cross in riskier, more remote regions.
_Pinocchio has been pinocchio’ed. Allright, we get it. Some democrats want to declare a win in the budget fight by declaring that they’re not funding Trump’s concrete wall, just “ fencing.” Trump, on the other hand, wants to declare victory and say that he has built many miles of his wall already. He even put a plaque on replacement fencing in Calexico. The media, unfortunately, has taken the bait and CBP put out a yahoo statement about this. But, take it from those who live at the border: it does not matter what you call it: a “concrete wall,” “18- or 30-feet bollard fencing,” “conversion fencing,” “levee wall,” “physical structure,” “border wall system,” “pedestrian fencing”...ALL of these are bad and hurt our communities. Every one of these versions of wall will promote dangerous flooding, rip land away from private property owners, put at risk endangered and protected species, cause environmental damage, funnel people to their deaths by forcing them to cross in remote areas, and are a huge (and medieval) poke in the eye to our southern neighbors, putting at risk the trade, labor and commerce initiatives that could, in turn, negatively affect our local economies. We know this, because this has been our experience over the last two decades when the government built 650 miles of wall. So, in the balance, tell us again why we need more wall?
_In the midst of this madness, what is our ask? Call your congressional members and tell them to be woke to Trump’s chaos creating management style, refuse to believe his fabricated border crisis, and oppose any funding for more immigration detention beds, more border or immigration agents, or more miles of border wall. Also, ask them where could this money be better spent? Modernization of decades-old ports of entry (which could contribute more meaningfully to border security)? Disaster relief for victims of this year’s wildfires, floods and hurricanes? Education? Health care for all? #RevitalizeNotMilitarize #DefundHate
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.