_SBCC ally Michelle Serrano of the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network describes the reasons why the valley, which has relatively few test sites, extremely limited health care resources, and multi-status families ineligible to receive aid, will be particularly hit hard by the novel coronavirus.
_Rotten2theCoreCivic is showing it’s unprincipled hand by forcing immigrant detainees in Arizona to sign a waiver before receiving a facemask, repeating the cruelty it showed in other places including California where the Otay Mesa Detention Center has now close to 100 inmates sick with the coronavirus. #FreeThemAll.
_While we continue to hold our breath to see when SCOTUS will issue a ruling on DACA, we at least celebrated the fact that they granted a motion to file a supplemental brief which details the crucial role of DACAmented essential workers during the COVID-19 epidemic and the catastrophic effects of a negative ruling at this time.
_Generalissimo Deflectissimo. In addition to showing its virulent and highly contagious nature, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has laid bare the catastrophic failure of Trump's leadership in dealing with a global pandemic. As is typical of his administration, instead of figuring out the best way to keep U.S. communities safe and healthy, he has resorted to dividing, distracting, deflecting, blaming, denying, oh, and yes, attacking immigrants (story quotes SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee). Everyone knows that what is really behind his proclamation this week declaring immigrants “detrimental to the interests of the United States” is just part of the same ‘ole cruel, toxic MO (story quotes SBCC ally Jessica Rodriguez of the Southside Workers Center). He ordered the suspension of lawful immigration over the next 60 days, with limited exceptions for immigrant visa applicants who are (1) spouses and children (under the age of 21) of U.S. citizens; (2) nurses, doctors and medical personnel; (3) essential workers as determined by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Homeland Security; (4) military personnel and their spouse and children; and (5) wealthy investors. Even though this limitation is for 60 days, it creates a dangerous precedent that can be renewed or extended at any time. But, here is the real story, millions of immigrants are risking their lives fighting this pandemic, taking care of the sick, and making sure families across the country have food on their tables. That, my friends, is authentic leadership. In fact, not only is this action offensive and harmful, it has zero basis in fact. All of Trump’s immigration policies purportedly in response to the novel coronavirus are dog whistles, not based on fact as clearly illustrated by this recent analysis conducted by the U.S. Immigration Policy Center at the University of California San Diego and this CATO Institute report. It’s high time for compassionate and effective leadership and policies based in fact, don’t you think?
_Riding on the Wall. While border wall construction in Arizona and the bootheel region of New Mexico is making us angrily kiss the return of the noble jaguar goodbye, we’ve also felt another punch in the proverbial gut brought to us courtesy of an alarming escalation in Trump's efforts to seize private land in Texas for wall construction. In the last three months alone_and in the midst of this global pandemic_Trump has filed at least 26 new eminent domain cases to rip land away from private property owners in Texas to ramp up border wall construction, pushing his campaign rallying cry forward at the expense of the safety and health of border community members (story quotes SBCC steering committee member Ricky Garza of the Texas Civil Rights Project). That’s roughly a third of the 77 total eminent domain cases filed during the entirety of Trump’s tenure in office, according to data compiled by our SBCC colleagues at the Texas Civil Rights Project, who add that “since the start of March, the federal government has filed 16 new cases_encompassing more than 1,000 acres of land_even as Trump was announcing social distancing guidelines and governments shut down many nonessential services.” Rapid border wall construction is creating a lot of anxiety and anger in border communities, as noted by SBCC co-chair Johana Bencomo of New Mexico Comunidades en Acción y de Fé (CAFé) and SBCC steering committee member Kevin Bixby of Southwest Environmental Center, but it is also exposing the misguided values and priorities held by Trump’s administration. In sum, it's about fulfilling campaign promises at all costs and in complete disregard of the harms it causes borderlanders. Ugh.
_Support migrant views. Be sure to tune in to a live_or, if you can’t make it, to a recorded_broadcast focused on the situation of migrants in the Americas during the global pandemic of COVID-19 on Monday, April 27, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. EST. SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative will participate in the broadcast that will bring in first-hand perspectives from Central America, Mexico, the U.S.-Mexico border, and Canada. Hosted by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, the broadcast will be offered live (and recorded) for viewing on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Check it out.
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. The Southern Border Communities Coalition is a program of Alliance San Diego.