_SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of the Kino Border Initiative explains how Trump’s anti-immigrant policies have only created confusion and hardship at the border saying, “When the administration tries policy or makes announcements in an attempt to deter immigration, in an ironic sense it actually makes people think, ‘This might be my only chance.'”
_SBCC steering committee member Kevin Bixby of the Southwest Environmental Center speaks about the harmful effects a border wall would have on the Mexican wolf, jaguar, and Sonoran pronghorn; all endangered species.
_If you haven’t done so already, please read and share this personal reflection by former Border Patrol agent Jenn Budd titled: I Used to Detain Migrants at the Border. Now I Help Them.
_Several immigration judges in San Diego are pushing back against the Migrant Protection Protocols, commonly known as Remain in Mexico, and raising the alarm on potential due process violations.
_We thought this was a joke, but it's for real: Trump is making soldiers paint part of his vanity wall at a price tag of $150,000 (not including labor). Wait, what?
_Dream come true? We collectively felt goosebumps as the House gallery erupted in “¡Sí, se puede! Yes, we can!” chants as members passed the Dream and Promise Act of 2019, with a 237 to 187 vote that included seven Republicans and all Democrats voting for passage. This was the first time since 2010 that the Dream Act passed the House, when it ultimately died in the Senate. Like then, the bill now heads over to the Senate, where it will likely get a cold shoulder. But_ here’s a crazy thought_what if senators finally realize that passing the bill, without encumbering it with poison pills for political gain, is the right thing to do? So dear Senators: please think of the more than 2 million hardworking people_like Jessica, Irving, Viviana and Chris_who are American all but in paper. Think of how its passage would strengthen our nation and economy. And think about how the vast majority of voters support the Dream Act. Here is our statement supporting the historic moment. Again, dear Senators, can we get this done? Yes we can!
_You’re Fired (or should be). Every day seems to bring a new headline illustrating the sheer incompetence_or deliberate chaos-causing policies (hard to tell)_of this administration in handling the refugees arriving at our border, which makes us wonder why no one is getting fired. As we’ve noted before, all of Trump’s policies implemented so far have failed, from his deadly vanity wall to sending troops to the border to place concertina wire on the wall. Now, he is threatening to impose tariffs on Mexico if they don’t stop Central Americans from coming to our border (as if they haven’t been trying already). This initiative has inspired a revolt among Republicans because it will ultimately hurt the pocketbooks of U.S. taxpayers. Instead of taking a look into root causes, the Department of Homeland Security claims that if it just got more resources to jail more people, it could solve the problem. This begs a couple of questions. For one, does DHS need more funding or could it re-allocate part of its over-bloated budget to deal with refugees in a more orderly and humane way? Second, is DHS the right department to be processing refugees? Something felt astray when the supplemental budget request suggested CBP should start a pilot program that would train Border Patrol agents to conduct credible fear interviews. Um, no, that’s not part of their purview nor should it ever be. Congress should not be allocating more funding to an agency that clearly isn’t up to the job. Instead, Congress should be dedicating more resources to developing a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach (hint: a New Border Vision) that strengthens the agencies and nonprofits who are the specialists in welcoming, processing and helping resettle refugees. In short, we need to fire DHS.
_Lives hang in the balance. Adding fodder to the argument that we need a new approach to border governance are the adding up of lives lost, including of children. Pediatricians have noted that Border Patrol’s practice of confiscating medications from children places their health at risk, but more importantly children should not be detained at all. Three adults also diedrecently in the span of three days: 25-year-old Johana Medina Leon, a trans woman from El Salvador, an unnamed 33-year-old Salvadoran man, and an unnamed 40-year-old Honduran woman (read our statement here). Since January 2010, at least 90 people have died as a result of interactions with U.S. border agents. How much different would the outcomes be if border agents considered human life paramount, instead of criminalizing migration_something humans have done since the beginning of time?
_Border surrealism. It’s ridiculously surreal that No More Deaths volunteer Scott Warren faces 20 years in prison for simply caring about the lives of others, while Border Patrol agents get away scot-free with murdering teens like Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez. This video opinion in the NYT illustrates how, for decades, the U.S. government has intentionally made border crossings deadlier in an attempt to discourage people from coming, and how this “deterrence policy” has only resulted in migrant deaths and, now, the criminalization of humanitarian aid volunteers. Here is where the American dream becomes a nightmare.
_A River at Risk. Public comment on a proposed border wall through the San Pedro River_the last free-flowing river in Arizona_is due Friday, July 5. Here you can find more information and watch a poignant video produced by the Center for Biological Diversity, an SBCC ally, that has great footage on the wildlife that relies on the water from this river.
_Fed Up? Call or write to your congressional members, telling them that not another cent should be spent on a wall, more agents or more detention beds in either a supplemental request for Fiscal Year 2019 or in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget that starts October 1. DHS already has a bloated budget; they’re just not prioritizing their resources to process refugees at our border in a humane and orderly way. We need to create a new, whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach for improved border governance. Join us in demanding this! #NewBorderVision #RevitallizeNotMilitarize.
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.