_SBCC steering committee member Michael Seifert of the ACLU of Texas, is seeking volunteers along with other immigrant rights organizations to witness and document the activities of border agents at international ports of entry, as well as to observe federal court proceedings in the Rio Grande Valley.
SBCC steering committee members and allies spoke out strongly against Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy and family separations:
_Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee called separating families at the border a clear violation of human rights.
_Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative notes that the backlog at the ports of entry is not the result of an increase in the number of asylum seekers, but rather the administration slowing to a snail’s pace the processing of asylum seekers.
_ Astrid Dominguez of the ACLU Border Rights Center explains how she is seeing parents with legitimate asylum claims for dropping their cases in desperation because they wrongly think this will help them be reunited with their children more quickly.
_Flying by the seat of lying pants. We saw a lot of dense fog, choking smoke, and distortion mirror tactics in the flight path of the Trump administration this week. Obvs, they did not anticipate the massive public outcry that would come from the Administration’s cruel enforcement of a “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in vile images and audio of children and babies crying after being ripped away from their parents, most of whom had come to the country seeking to protect their children from spiralling violence. Then Trump_who earlier had claimed he couldn’t issue an executive order to keep families together_ caved and issued an executive order claiming it would keep families together, but in the same breath promised to continue to prosecute the parents for immigration misdemeanors_which is what caused the separation of families in the first place. Our statement noted how the order “solved” the problem of keeping families together by keeping children and parents together in jail, indefinitely. (But they’re together and that’s good, right? Umm. No!) A day later, Trump said families were still going to be separated. The order also does nothing to reunify the more than 2,000 already separated kids with their parents, gravely misleading the public and the parents who erroneously thought they would finally see their children again. The most confused we ever get is when we're trying to convince our heads of something our heart knows is a lie (who said that?).
_Money often costs too much. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed, on a vote of 26 to 5, a Homeland Security spending bill for Fiscal Year 2019 that includes $1.6 billion for Trump’s vanity wall (but not his revised request of $2.2 billion nor the full request for $25 billion) and 750 Customs and Border Protection agents (375 Border Patrol agents and 375 Office of Field Operations officers at ports of entry). We issued statements against funding the deportation and family separation machinery, including a joint statement asking the government to #DefundHate. Five Democratic senators voted against the spending bill, including two border senators: Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA). Please be sure to thank these senators for voting to #DefundHate and standing up against Trump’s wall and deportation force. Next step is the Senate floor for a vote. No news yet on the timeline for the House Appropriations Committee markup for the Fiscal Year 2019 homeland security budget.
_The timely demise of Badlatte and Queen of the Hill. The Badlatte bill (aka an immigration bill introduced by Rep. Goodlatte that contained extreme, anti-immigrant provisions, thousands of more border agents and $25 billion for Trump’s wall) was introduced to the House floor for a vote, effectively sounding the death knell to the Queen of the Hill discharge petition that aimed to force a floor vote on four immigration bills of varying perils. The good news is that the Goodlatte bill failed (193-231). All Democrats and 41 Republicans voted against it.
_On deck. Instead of moving to a vote on House Speaker Ryan’s “compromise” bill, the House delayed the vote to next week, partly to drum up more support by attaching more draconian measures to the bill. The bill also “solves” the Trump’s family separation policy by shifting $7 billion from border technologies to building more family internment sites. But the House also delayed the vote because someone noticed a typo of $125 billion for Trump’s wall, instead of his request for $25 billion (err...what?). This bill offers a DACA fix that would offer unclear protections and a limited path to citizenship for Dreamers. Even Trump seems skeptical of the bill, telling his party to stop working on it. Please call your congressional representative (switchboard: (202) 224-3121 and tell them to stop spinning their wheels on bad policy and, if it manages to come up for a vote, to vote NO. Congress should #RevitalizeNotMilitarize our border communities.
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.