PLEASE NOTE: Because of the Labor Day holiday, we will not be issuing Border_Lines next week.
_We had the pleasure to do a Facebook LIVE conversation with investigative journalist Jean Guerrero, author of the book HATEMONGER: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda.
_Read this poignant and beautifully-written piece by SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), who describes the soon to be finished mural memorial in San Diego’s Chicano Park dedicated to Anastasio Hernández Rojas (¡presente!) who was beaten to death by border agents_who still have not been held accountable_at the San Ysidro port of entry a decade ago.
_We joined nearly 230 organizations in saying “no way” to any extra money for CBP and ICE as Congress considers a continuing resolution (CR) to continue funding the government after the fiscal year ends September 30; these agencies use brutal tactics across the country, against immigrants, border communities and people exercising their 1st Amendment rights. Let’s #DefundHate.
_SBCC co-chair Christina Patiño Houle of the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network describes the challenges in getting an accurate census count because of Trump’s fear-mongering tactics and how an undercount will deeply affect the quality of life of her South Texas community.
_Our colleagues at AFSC’s U.S.-Mexico Border Program partnered with the Center for Reproductive Rights, Human Rights First, and the Women’s Refugee Commission to develop this brief that shows how U.S. authorities have exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to mistreat pregnant migrants and people seeking asylum, further eviscerating human rights protections for the most vulnerable among us.
_Get your Border Lens on! We are super excited to announce the launch of the "Border Lens" portal on the Southern Border Community Coalition's website. It is dynamic and deep with information about the border region and all who call the borderlands home. With your Border Lens on, you’ll see border communities in a different light. For too long, our region has been (mis)framed by people who don’t live in or understand our region and by politicians who have used anti-immigrant fear-mongering for their own political gain at our expense. The truth is the southern border region is one of the most diverse, economically vibrant, and safest areas of the country. We also want to shed light on the ill-conceived policies that have harmed the quality of life and safety of border communities by hyper-militarizing the region we call home and by not providing adequate oversight and accountability of Customs and Border Protections officials, subjecting our communities to police brutality with impunity. And we also lift up the solutions dreamed and driven by border community members. Yours truly and border researcher Gustavo Lopez, who masterfully spearheaded this project, presented the new portal in a webinar you can watch here. The testimonials and data in Border Lens hopefully will inspire our nation to move away from the enforcement-only border policies of the past and see a New Border Vision that expands community safety to all, protects life and human rights, and welcomes all people to our borders. A new #BorderLens for a #NewBorderVision.
_Wall of tears.The Trump administration’s wall atrocity is quickly stealing the title from the original “pointless” and cruel wall of tears. It’s truly tear-inducing. By building this lethal wall, the Trump administration is blatantly violating the sovereignty of indigenous tribes from the Carrizo Comecrudo tribe in the South Texas valley, to the O’odham tribes in Arizona, to the Kumeyaay tribes (including La Posta tribe) in Southern California, forcing protests and lawsuits to protect their sacred lands. In fact, it was both inspiring and angering to witness two Tohono O’odham and Hia Ced O’odham women arrested for peacefully protesting the border wall and then to learn they were treated horribly and held incommunicado without access to a phone call or lawyer for 24 hours at a private prison run by #Rotten2theCoreCivic. We also shed tears when we see border wall construction that has irreparably marred our precious natural preserves and wildlife corridors (story quotes SBCC steering committee member Dan Millis of the Sierra Club), putting the lives of endangered species at higher risk of extinction. Protesting continuing construction of the border wall this week were interfaith groups in Arizona who conducted weeklong vigils at the border wall and an Army veteran who helped build the wall, but now wants it torn down. A new poll also showed that more than half of New Mexico’s voters want the construction of Trump’s lethal border wall to stop. But still, Trump persists on wasting billions of taxpayer dollars to build this monstrous campaign prop (and tearjerker). We did shed a few happy tears this week when a judge signed a temporary restraining order against border wall construction near the Eli Jackson Cemetery in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, forcing border wall construction to stop 100 feet from the cemetery until a court hearing can be held. We look forward to a day when we tear this wall down without shedding a tear.
_Smile! Border agents and port inspectors better start practicing their mugs because, guess what, we have a First Amendment right to take their pictures. Super congratulations to Mitra Ebadolahi at the ACLU Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties and plaintiffs Ray Askins and Christian Ramirez (yes, that’s former SBCC director Ramirez!) for settling a lawsuit about people’s right to photograph and record at land ports of entry in the United States. The right to photograph and monitor publicly visible law enforcement activity, guaranteed by the First Amendment, is an essential safeguard against law enforcement overreach. Yet, despite settled law establishing this right, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has long maintained that the public cannot photograph or record matters or events exposed to public view at ports of entry without the agency’s advance permission. Well, no more. According to the ACLU, “This victory is a testament to our dedicated plaintiffs, whose unwavering commitment to border residents’ constitutional rights is truly inspiring. It is also dedicated to the memory of Anastasio Hernández Rojas, who was brutally beaten and tased by CBP agents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in May 2010, dying a few days later. Federal officials confiscated and erased eyewitness recordings of CBP’s brutality, but the one surviving video played a central role in securing some measure of justice for Anastasio’s family.” Click on the links to read the full settlement agreement and final order. Additional case information (in addition to other complaints against CBP) is also available here. Say cheese!
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.