_Tune in to this special report by KTSM El Paso that describes the El Paso bathhouses where U.S. officials would force Mexicans to strip their clothes and be fumigated prior to being allowed entry into the United States for work a century ago, resulting in the 1917 bath riots led by Carmelita Torres, 17, (¡presente!) who refused to be “bathed” in such a humiliating manner.
_With their well-known penchant for creating drama to gain political points, we weren’t at all surprised to learn that Border Patrol intentionally created a tour de circus that on first blush seemed designed to dissuade Hispanic/Latino voters from voting.
_After tireless advocacy led by Black immigrants, we were encouraged by President Biden’s decision to do right by the Haitian community in the United States by redesignating Temporary Protected Status for Haiti, a designation that was ripped away by the prior administration.
_SBCC colleague Joanna Williams of the Kino Border Initiative describes how people who have been quickly expelled to Nogales, Mexico, under Title 42 are subjected to long waits, violence and abuse.
_SBCC steering committee members Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee and Dulce Garcia of Border Angels discuss the harsh living conditions of people in migrant tent camps in Tijuana, Mexico, and how there is new hope now that a small number of vulnerable migrants are being permitted daily to enter the United States to pursue their asylum claims.
_Be sure to join our colleagues at Witness at the Border, on Thursday, June 3, 7:30 p.m. Eastern, for a discussion with author Aviva Chomsky about her new book, "Central America's Forgotten History," to better understand how U.S. policies and interventions are the driving forces behind the root causes that explain mass migration from Central America since the 1980s; register here.
_Defund Hate, Just Do It. Today, President Biden released a detailed Fiscal Year 2022 budget request that had some good things and some not so great things. While we were pleased to see no additional funding-for border wall construction, the proposed cancellation of border wall funds from prior fiscal years, and an investment in the modernization of our ports of entry, we are concerned that President Biden’s budget request includes funding for surveillance technologies, which can inflict harms on the environment, infringe on privacy rights of border communities, and can lead to more deaths as border-crossers take more dangerous routes to avoid detection. We are urging Congress to defund hate and adopt a transformative budget. In our statement as part of the Defund Hate Coalition, we are calling for a budget that shifts away from the punitive approach to immigration and border enforcement and instead invest in line items that make our communities thrive, like education, health care, and investments into a new job creation model that doesn’t rely on enforcement and incarceration. This is why Yours Truly and our colleagues at United We Dream, Detention Watch Network, National Immigrant Justice Center, American Friends Service Committee, and the Honorable Congressional Representative Ayana Pressley participated in a media briefing that outlined our expectations of Biden’s and Congress’ FY22 budget for ICE and CBP. For decades, border communities have borne the brunt of a deeply misguided (often bipartisan) political strategy that unwisely attempts to offset immigration reforms with subjectively defined border “security” that perennially moves the goalposts. This paradigm has proven to be catastrophic, counterproductive, and costly. Further exacerbated by a “prevention through deterrence” strategy, it has led to the hyper-militarization of our borderlands; a massive erosion of our rights; increased abuse with impunity by border enforcement officials, particularly on community members of color, including immigrants with long ties to the region, tribal members, and those seeking protection. This failed paradigm has also resulted in almost zero advances in humane and fair immigration reform policies. Our elected officials have been hitched to this false paradigm for almost three decades, reminding us of the definition of insanity (i.e., doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome). With a transformative FY22 budget, our nation has a chance_and a responsibility_to live up to our values, do the right thing, and invest in fair, humane and functional systems to welcome vulnerable newcomers, as well as border residents, at our southern border. Among our asks to appropriators are:
- Congress should not only halt destructive border wall construction and rescind any remaining border wall funds from past years, but should also invest in programs to assess, restore, and repair the damage done by border walls and barriers to border communities and the borderlands_starting with the removal of the stretches of the wall that pose risks to people, wildlife and ecosystems, ending all eminent domain cases, and righting environmental wrongs. Congress needs to also invest in modernized, rights-respecting ports of entry to reduce wait times and welcome border region residents and people seeking safety in the United States alike.
- Furthermore, Congress should sharply restrict funding for intrusive border surveillance technologies. A “virtual” wall is not a humane or benign alternative to a physical wall and must be carefully restricted given that surveillance technologies can inflict harm on the environment, infringe on human rights of border communities, and can lead to more deaths as border crossers take more dangerous routes to avoid detection.
- Congress should also not invest in more unaccountable border agents, who, frankly, have not made us safer, but have instead perpetuated a culture of abuse and impunity in our region; we must also remove intrusive, harmful interior checkpoints.
- Let’s #RevitalizeNotMilitarize
_Out of touch. What is it about Border Patrol that works so hard to create alternative realities by, for example, claiming a benevolent role in “rescuing” immigrants while ignoring their role in creating these life endangering policies, like using Title 42 to quickly expel people back to Mexico? (Article quotes Yours Truly, SBCC colleague Randy Meyer, and SBCC ambassador Jenn Budd.) The sealing of the border and quick expulsions without due process are policies that create hardship and desperation for people trying to reunite with family members in the United States or who are running for their lives. Harsh immigration and enforcement policies don’t deter people from coming, they simply create more suffering and harm. Case in point is the increase in border wall-related serious injuries in Texas and New Mexico, along with deaths caused by Trump’s vanity border wall_for example, this tragic death of a pregnant woman. We need to re-think borders and put in place a rights-respecting welcoming system that doesn't rely on detention. We cannot continue to invest irresponsibly in militarized border agencies like CBP, who have long legacies of holding people in cruel and inhumane conditions. We cannot allow them to continue keeping people, including children, in cages or to think that this is an effective solution to the challenges we are experiencing in the southern border region. The only role border agents should be playing is to quickly identify needs and refer people to the appropriate resources. We could be saving lives, instead of putting them at risk. We need to #WelcomeWithDignity.
_It only gets worse. A new report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General reveals that DHS officials lied about how they ripped children from the arms of parents during the implementation of a “zero tolerance” policy under the Trump administration. At least 348 parents were separated from their children and deported without ICE documenting whether or not the parents wanted their children with them. In fact, in some of these cases, evidence exists that parents wanted to bring their children back with them to their home country. Furthermore, the report reveals that DHS leadership lied when telling lawmakers that parents were given a choice between taking their children with them or leaving them behind. C’mon, we have to be better than this.
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.