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_SBCC ally Norma Herrera of the Rio Grande Equal Voice Network remarks on the dangerous absurdity of detaining immigrants so they can testify against individuals who purportedly smuggled them during the novel coronavirus pandemic, noting “When we criminalize migration, we set up systems that compound harm and enforce punitive measures against already marginalized people.”
_In a story about how COVID-19 has completely halted the U.S. asylum process, SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative explains that requiring asylum seekers_subjected to the “Remain in Mexico” scheme_to travel on crowded buses more than 100 miles away to just get a new court date in the midst of the pandemic runs contrary to the most basic public health recommendations; can’t they figure out a better way_like allowing them to go to their nearest computer and print out their new court dates?
_Border Patrol is building a caged playing area for children in its Tucson holding facility; an idea that SBCC ambassador and former senior Border Patrol agent Jenn Budd says illustrates how the Border Patrol doesn’t really care about the people it detains.
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_Far from our best. We keep wondering what it would be like if the United States had even a modicum of presidential leadership under this global pandemic, because it really, really feels like we are far from our best. Take for example that despite a national outcry from congressional members, local elected officials and public health experts, Trump is still rushing ahead to build his offensive and lethal border wall merely to fulfill a misguided campaign promise, while putting in peril the lives of border residents and endangered species at great and unreasonable taxpayer expense. There has been nil transparency and tons of nefarious shenanigans around Trump's border wall funding transfers and even information that shows that one small section of the wall is costing U.S. taxpayers about $100 million a mile!!! Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot? That’s nearly one-fourth of the aid we give to the Northern Triangle countries. Check out this horrifying video of the stupidity in border wall construction that shows how the wall is being built in the middle of super remote mountainous desert terrain_a four-to-five hour off-road drive to the location (video features SBCC ally Laiken Jordahl of the Center for Biological Diversity). The only thing that this wall will stop is wildlife and endangered species, putting the latter on a fast track towards extinction. Is that something our children_or even current taxpayers_will be proud of? In the more urban areas of Ajo and Yuma, Arizona, border communities and construction workers are at higher risk for contracting the novel coronavirus. This is why border congressional member Raúl Grijalva (AZ-D) and border experts (including yours truly) called for the immediate halt to border wall construction. To hear a full briefing on this, go here.
_No silver lining. Thanks to Trump’s obsession with a border wall, there has been no silver lining for private property owners, endangered species or the environment in the southern border during this global pandemic. As SBCC steering committee member Ricky Garza of the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) notes, the Trump administration is exploiting the pandemic to ramp up construction of his monstrosity vanity wall in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. To see just how ridiculously far away the border wall will be from the actual border, download and view this PDF. Once you see the maps, maybe ask yourself if we are ceding this land back to Mexico? It sure feels that way. #ThinkAboutIt
_DACAsense. A recent poll illustrates that voters overwhelmingly support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative and want to see DACA recipients continue to be protected even if SCOTUS gives Trump the green light to end the initiative. Registered voters also want Congress to immediately pass legislation to grant permanent protections to DACA recipients in the event that the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Trump administration’s attempts to terminate DACA. So what is the holdup? The House passed HR 6 - American Dream and Promise Act long ago (on June 4, it will be a year). It’s high time for the U.S. Senate and the President to get with the program.
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.