_Save the date of Saturday, June 2, 5 to 8 p.m. and join SBCC steering committee member groups CAFé, Southwest Environmental Center, and the ACLU of New Mexico in All Against the Wall to protest the first installment of Trump’s wall near the Santa Teresa port of entry. For more info, email Sonya Kumpuckal.
_Needlessly sending 2,000 National Guard troops to the border will waste $182 million of your tax dollars from now through September.
_CBP announced it will again be evaluating the use of body worn cameras and dash cams in the field, a much needed tool to help keep Border Patrol accountable.
_Tune in: It’s not posted yet, but we heard Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen will be providing the administration’s faulty analysis of what’s needed at the border during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Tuesday, May 8, 2:30 p.m. EST, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 192.
_Fog of lies. We have already noted how Trump has created a fog of lies around the false notion that there is a crisis in the southern border region. He justified the deployment of about 4,000 National Guard troops by citing a typical, seasonal spike of border apprehensions, often seen annually in March, and a group of desperate asylum seekers from Central America heading to the ports of entry. Trump’s artificial “crisis” was also recently used by U.S. Attorney General Sessions to send to the southern border 35 new assistant U.S. Attorneys to increase federal prosecutions of unauthorized entries and 18 new immigration judges to up determinations on asylum cases brought legally at the border. Yet, Homeland Security April data show that the number of people apprehended at the border remain in line with seasonal trends. No crisis there, right? Right.
_"We’re going to take everyone.” The United States seems to always advocate for the protection of groups providing humanitarian aid around the world. So it’s puzzling_and disturbing_to see the U.S. government harass and prosecute groups providing humanitarian assistance along the U.S.-Mexico border_most recently setting their sights on No More Deaths, an all-volunteer advocacy group that aims to prevent the deaths of migrants crossing through remote, desert border regions in Southern Arizona. The attacks by Border Patrol seem blatantly intended to destroy the group. Since when do we target groups that help save lives?
_CBP violence against border communities. Since 2003, nearly 100 people_both U.S. citizens and non-citizens_have had fatal encounters with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. “Pedestrians were run over by agents. Car chases culminated in crashes. Some have drowned, others died after they were pepper-sprayed, stunned with tasers or beaten. . . But the majority of victims died from bullet wounds, including shots in the back.” Border communities live in a region within the United States, where_on a daily basis_their constitutional rights are violated. SBCC steering committee member Jorge Rodriguez of the ACLU of New Mexico shares his testimony of harassment at a Border Patrol checkpoint far from the actual border as he goes about his daily life. “I already live in a region where my mere existence is criminalized,” he notes, “whether it’s the wall or a wall of agents. We live as second-class citizens.” Further proof of Border Patrol’s violence against border communities is this in-depth report that shows how the agency paid more than $60 million over a decade to settle claims of wrongful deaths, driving injuries, alleged assaults and wrongful detention (of U.S. citizens). More than subtle indignities felt.
_No Throwing Shades on the Border. The very first episode of this season’s “United Shades of America” on CNN, brought W. Kamau Bell to the Arizona/Sonora border to talk to the locals about how border enforcement policies are damaging our local economies and quality of life. Fr. Sean Carroll, SJ, executive director of Kino Border Initiative, an SBCC member organization, was interviewed by Bell in the comedor in Nogales, Sonora, where newly deported migrants receive a free meal and medical care. You can read an accompanying opinion piece and watch parts of the episode here. “And none of the people who live near the border seemed to be living in fear. And no one who was asked seemed to think that a bigger, bolder, Trump-ier wall was going to solve anything. In fact, the fear was that it would make a hard situation (people who cross the border in the United States are seeking jobs or safety) much worse. And as the people at the morgue showed me, it is already horrifically bad.” Word.
_Big brother is watching. SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee expressed his concerns when learning that the San Diego police is sharing information gathered by automatic license plate readers with the San Diego Border Patrol sector. Mission beyond creepy?
_Deserving hatred and contempt. The New York Times recently reported on the continued separation of immigrant families at the border, noting that more than 700 children have been separated from their immigrant parents since October alone, including more than 100 children under age 4. If interested in putting a stop to family separation, please sign this petition to Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen against the despicable practice of separating families at the border. #KeepFamiliesTogether #RevitalizeNotMilitarize
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.