_San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to embrace a New Border Vision, a framework for well-functioning borders for the 21st century, in partial response to the deployment of the SWAT-like BORTAC units against the city’s most vulnerable.
_We joined more than 250 organizations calling on congressional leadership to dramatically cut funding for ICE and CBP, including no funding for the border wall, ICE and CBP agents, or more detention.
_We couldn’t agree more with our allies at United We Dream: in these times, everyone should have access to health care.
_No comment: Some U.S. citizens are now going south to find water, food and toilet paper.
_Dolphins in Venice. As stories about how dolphins have returned to the canals of Venice in the wake of the quiet from Italy’s COVID-19 lockdown have gone viral (no pun intended), we couldn’t help but wonder what other silver linings could be found. Seriously, when faced with our own mortality, what seems to come into perspective are reflections on where we should be prioritizing things. Coming to mind now is a deep need to immediately put a stop to the border wall, which is not only a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars, but is also destroying the Rio Grande and forever ending how bird-watchers spend their time in South Texas, as well as threatening to end the recovery of jaguars in the United States. Jaguars! Other silver linings include a suspension of illegal entry and illegal reentry prosecutions, which makes us reflect not only about the racist origin of these statutes, but how these are completely unnecessary. More border wall construction? More border agents? Detention of our most vulnerable? More and more, these heinous practices are losing their currency because not only do they do nothing to halt the spread of the raging COVID-19 virus, but these practices could actually contribute to its transmission. So, let’s stop destroying our environment, let’s release people from detention (DHS has 100% discretion to do this), let’s stop building a dumb vanity wall, and let’s spend our resources on more ventilators, masks, health care facilities and providers instead. It’s time for more dolphins.
__Flip-flopping enforcement. It’s hard to tell if ICE and CBP will stop their enforcement activities or not, creating even more confusion and fear in our communities at a time when clarity is most needed. First, we read stories about how ICE was ramping up its enforcement and surveillance activities in spite of a global pandemic, then ICE announced that they would limit certain enforcement activities, then acting (and possibly illegally appointed) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli tweeted a walk-back. What gives? Here is a summary of 12 changes that the administration has allegedly made in relation to its immigration policies. But caveat emptor!
_Border closures. So, while Trump partially close both the northern and southern borders to some, we can’t help but wonder whether or not we will see true ownership by his administration of a crisis -- of his own making -- now made even worse by the coronavirus. We’re talking about the potential lives lost in border camps that are the result of Trump’s cruel Remain in Mexico program. Not only are we depriving refugees of their due process, violating our international obligations and creating even more heightened concern among the most vulnerable among us, but we are also endangering their lives, including children. Time to own up and do something.
_Calmer heads. So to sum up, in the face of a global pandemic, the Trump administration has not only mismanaged the government’s response, but seems to be using it as fodder to advance his border militarization and anti-immigrant obsessions. Instead of funding and focusing on the measures that public health experts say are urgently needed to manage this pandemic emergency, Trump has moved to shut out asylum-seekers, keep tens of thousands locked up in unsafe, unsanitary conditions, send mask-wearing ICE and CBP agents to terrorize our most vulnerable communities, and seek funding to build immigrant quarantine camps at the border. As our country faces this unprecedented moral and public health crisis, we must instead protect the most vulnerable, stand in solidarity with our neighbors and move away from wrong-headed and dangerous policies that only hurt our communities. Stay safe and healthy!
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 Vicki@alliancesd.org, by Wednesday COB. The Southern Border Communities Coalition is a program of Alliance San Diego.