_Check out the Southern Border Communities Coalition’s (SBCC’s) latest WE VOTE Facebook live event and listen to SBCC’s comadres talk about “The Militarization of the Border and its Impact on Border Communities.”
_So it turns out that border walls not only harm our environment, wildlife and communities, they also have a negative effect on our mental health writes Jessica Wapner in her new book, “Wall Disease: The Psychological Toll of Living Up Against a Border;” stay tuned as she might soon be a guest on one of our upcoming Facebook Live events.
_SBCC colleague Laiken Jordhal of the Center for Biological Diversity doesn’t hold back on rightly criticizing Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf’s recent visit to Arizona and highlights the harms Trump’s vanity wall has caused to our borderlands.
_SBCC colleague Sara Ritchie of the Kino Border Initiative explains why they coordinated a cross-border demonstration in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, to protest the shutting down of the asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border and how this is harming families seeking protections.
_A new report by TRAC shows how the number of deportations under the Remain in Mexico program_also known as the misleading Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)_is on the rise after a year of month-to-month declines; we hope the SCOTUS announcement to take up the case on the legality of MPP will put an end to this travesty.
_Google this. We were a little surprised to learn that Google has signed a contract with CBP to create what amounts to a “virtual wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border, even after its employees demanded the company not sign contracts with the likes of CBP and ICE. Virtual walls are an enormous waste of taxpayer dollars and they place the civil rights of border communities at risk. The ACLU breaks it down here. DHS can’t hold their own agents accountable, so why would we think CBP will create necessary safeguards for border technology? They won’t. Project after project, DHS has spent billions in taxpayer dollars in failed technology programs that infringe on privacy liberties. We should not be pouring additional taxpayer dollars into agencies that separate families, terrorize communities, and abuse individuals seeking a better life. Furthermore_here’s some food for thought_shouldn’t our technology priorities during this global pandemic be about making sure that all kids who are now taking their K-12 classes at home have access to the internet, along with computers? Google that.
_Child abuse. That’s what we call ripping children away from the arms of their loving parents because certain administration officials think this will deter people_who are fleeing violence and poverty_ from coming here. The act is bad enough. But worse yet, is learning that DHS had no system in place to track children and their parents, and that now the parents of 545 children taken away as part of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy cannot be found. If you’re familiar with the emptiness in the soul of a parent who has lost a child, you should be outraged. But, let’s also be real. The U.S. government has long separated children from their parents when unjustly locking up people_especially people of color_in prisons or immigration jails. The U.S. government has also separated children_often U.S. citizen children_by deporting their parents. In fact, as this great book review illustrates, our so-called welcoming nation is plainly not welcoming at all. But, imagine what would happen if instead of spending more taxpayer dollars on prisons, immigration detention, police, border and immigration officials, we spent our dollars on welcoming centers staffed by trauma specialists, social workers, and compassionate asylum officers. Imagine if we also invested in green jobs, schools, housing, infrastructure, substance abuse and treatment programs, and effective public health programs that stave off infectious diseases. A good start would be the creation of transformative policies on immigration and border governance that would expand community safety and protect human rights, life, and dignity for all. Check out our #NewBorderVision
_Highest court. The Supreme Court announced this week that it will hear arguments challenging Trump’s use of Pentagon funding on the construction costs of his lethal vanity wall. The lawsuit was brought by the ACLU on behalf of Sierra Club and SBCC. Every lower federal court that ruled on the case has held that Trump’s wall circumvents Congress’ decision to not fund its construction. Congress_as you may know_had already appropriated these funds for other projects. We will continue to push against increased border militarization and demand that the wall not only be defunded, but torn down. For a glaring example of why we feel so strongly, just witness the latest monstrosity of Trump’s border wall built across the San Pedro river_Arizona’s last free-flowing river. Mother nature will probably take care of it over time, but the destruction it has caused may be irreparable. We trust the highest court in our nation will see the Trump administration’s cruel folly and acknowledge the harm the wall has caused on our beloved borderlands. #TearTheWallDown
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.