NOTE: This is our last edition for 2019. Our next blog will be published Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. Until then, we hope you have a happy and restful holiday season with family and friends!!
_Did the 15 million people who form our vibrant, diverse borderlands suddenly wake up in Russia?; why is the Trump Administration trying to hide their dirty misuse-of-the-military business here? ¿Qué what?
_Quid pro quo_ing? Always Trumpers and early cheerleaders, i.e., the Border Patrol union, just got a major bump_all at taxpayer’s expense_ and fully enabled by the Trump Administration.
__SBCC co-chair Christina Patiño Houle of Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network expresses concern about how fear and distrust of the Trump administration might result in an undercount of Texas border communities in the 2020 U.S. Census.
_While this article unfortunately perpetuates some of the worst myths about our beloved borderlands, SBCC steering committee member Michael Seifert of the ACLU of Texas rightly characterizes the untenable and evil situation the Trump administration has created for families seeking safety at our Southern Border through the “Migrant Protection Protocols (aka Remain in Mexico).”
_We couldn’t be more grateful to the determined 31 volunteer-based, humanitarian migrant shelters on the U.S. side that provide lifesaving assistance to asylum seekers and who spoke out in unison against Trump’s cruel Remain in Mexico program (article quotes SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative).
_Eye Pokes. While we mourned the anniversary of the death of Jakelin Caal Maquin, age 6, and honored the memory of the other children who have died in US custody at the border, it felt like a big poke in the eye when some members of Congress thought nothing of passing Fiscal Year 2020 funding that seems to reward Trump’s cruel and indifferent policies towards immigrants, border communities, and people seeking safety in our borderlands. On Tuesday, the House passed the spending bill, 280-135, followed by the Senate passing it, 81-11, on Thursday. Trump is expected to sign the bill shortly. We recognize that the bill includes some new CBP oversight measures_such as the creation of an Ombudsman for Immigration Detention, $21 million for the use of body-worn cameras, and a requirement to provide reports to Congress on interior immigration checkpoints and roving patrols in the border region, on the prolonged CBP custody and the detention of pregnant women, and on “metering” and the effects of the so-called Migrant Protections Protocols, among other items. On the seriously minus side, it increased CBP’s (and ICE’s) gross budget authority_albeit slightly_and gifted $1.375 billion more to this Administration to build Trump’s lethal border wall. It also had zero guardrails to restrict Trump’s authority to transfer funds, which means nothing is stopping Trump and his cronies from raiding accounts in other agencies to enhance his cruel deportation force and border militarization agenda. We guess it’s a smaller stick, if one considers Trump’s initial request for $8.6 billion for border wall construction. But, a smaller stick still hurts when poking the proverbial eye.
_Wall Pall. Speaking of walls, check out this great ACLU blog on how Trump will stop at nothing to build his wall obsession and read the best paragraph in this article about how Trump’s vanity wall will forever change border communities, which is definitely worth quoting in its entirety: “Some Democrats argue that Mr Trump is merely replacing walls that already exist. That is not true. When a 30-foot wall, impenetrable to wildlife and surrounded by a network of roads and lights, replaces a low fence, it really is a new structure, in much the same way that replacing a garden shed with a ten-storey [sic] office block would be. A journey from El Paso to San Diego makes clear just how deeply the wall will change the character of America’s south-western border. Emma Lazarus’s poem on the Statue of Liberty welcomes to America the world’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. Mr Trump’s wall sends the opposite message.” Yep.
_Gracias/Thank You. While we’re nowhere near happy about the Fiscal Year 2020 budget passing with provisions like $1.375 billion for the border wall, we want to send a big gracias to the 75 members of the House_including from the quad caucuses (the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Progessive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus)_and the 11 senators who voted against it (even though some of these senators may have done so for different reasons). This courageous roster includes 53 congressional members and two senators from U.S. border states:
Arizona: Representatives Raúl Grijalva and Ruben Gallego
California: Representatives Pete Aguilar, Nanette Baragán, Karen Bass, Tony Cárdenas, Judy Chu, Lou Correa, Mark DeSaulnier, Anna Eshoo, Jimmy Gomez, Jared Huffman, Ro Khanna, Barbara Lee, Ted Lieu, Zoe Lofgren, Alan Lowenthal, Grace Napolitano, Jimmy Panetta, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Linda Sanchez, Jackie Speier, and Mark Takano
Michigan: Representatives Suzanne Bonamici and Andy Levin
Minnesota: Representative Ilhan Omar
New Mexico: Representatives Deb Haaland and Ben Ray Luján
New York: Representatives Yvette Clarke, Eliot Engel, Adriano Espaillat, Carolyn B. Maloney, Grace Meng, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Tom Suozzi; and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer (yay!)
Texas: Representatives Joaquin Castro, Henry Cuellar, Lloyd Doggett, Verónica Escobar, Sylvia Garcia, Vicente Gonzalez, Al Green, and Sheila Jackson Lee
Washington: Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith
Wisconsin: Representatives Mark Pocan and Gwen Moore
_Standing with the LGBTQ immigrant community. SBCC stands for the right for everyone to live freely and with dignity. We joined several organizations in supporting this supplemental complaint filed by the Transgender Law Center against CBP and ICE for their unbelievably negligent treatment of Roxsana Hernandez, which resulted in her completely preventable death. DHS is notorious for providing inhumane and cruel treatment to our beloved members of the trans community, which is why we also join the Kino Border Initiative (an SBCC steering committee organization) and the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in calling for the immediate release of Alejandra and Anahí, who have experienced multiple assaults and abuses while in ICE detention. Please join us in making this call. While we’re on the subject of LGBTQ immigrant rights, you should grab a box of tissues before watching this story of two men who met on the migrant trail and fell in love along the way. We need a #NewBorderVision.
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.