NOTE: Our offices will be closed next week to take a much-needed breather. Our next issue of Border_Lines will be published on Friday, December 4.
_Join Yours Truly and SBCC comadres, experts from the southern border region, to discuss the results of the 2020 Elections and what lies ahead in 2021 on a Facebook Live discussion on Friday, Dec. 4, 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET.
_SBCC steering committee member Mike Seifert of the ACLU of Texas writes about accompanying a young man, Lorenzofrom El Salvador, through the difficult process of seeking asylum.
_SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee speaks for us when he explains how activists are hopeful that the Biden-Harris administration will prioritize immigration reform, but he also hopes the process will be accountable, transparent, and includes the input of directly impacted community members.
_Who created the vaccines to prevent COVID-19: we (immigrants) get the job done!
_Gratitude. While we acknowledge the controversial history and oppressive and harmful colonialism behind the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to take this moment to express gratitude and hope that 2021 may bring executive and congressional initiatives that bring us closer to racial justice and the dismantling of white supremacist systems of oppression, including by obtaining fair and humane immigration reform. We know our work is still cut out for us under a Biden-Harris administration. For border communities, among the things we would like to see on Day 1 of the Biden-Harris administration is the immediate repeal of all of Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-refugee initiatives, starting with the Muslim Ban to “metering” to the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols and CDC Title 42 expulsions. We also want to see not only a halt to border wall construction, but the immediate cancellation of all outstanding border wall contracts, a halt to all eminent domain cases in South Texas, the consideration of reparations to tribal communities that have been severely harmed by the bulldozing and dynamiting of their sacred lands, and the establishment of a task force formed by border community members, environmental and conservation specialists, and restoration scientists to evaluate and implement a plan to tear down the border wall, starting with the most harmful sections and in a way that is environmentally conscious. Trump’s border wall has not only been a monument to racism (quotes Yours Truly), it has been a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars, has severely harmed our wildlife refuges, placed our endangered species at higher risk for extinction, and forced more people to cross in dangerous, remote areas of our borderlands, placing them at higher risk of death. #TearDownTheWall
_November surprise. Earlier this week, the Senate (as in the Republican-controlled Senate) passed one of our bills, S.2174 the Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains Act, thatSenator John Cornyn (R-TX), Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced last year with the encouragement and expertise of SBCC, forensic experts and partners concerned with the crisis of migrant deaths in the border region. Despite the partisan acrimony, SBCC has maintained relationships across the aisle as best we could and looked for common ground on border issues such as in this case to address migrant deaths in remote areas of the border. The bill does the following: (1) authorizes funding to help identify missing persons and unidentified remains; (2) authorizes funding for 911-relay rescue beacons to prevent deaths; and (3) requires long-sought reporting by CBP and GAO, including on ways to mitigate these deaths. Here is the statement from Cornyn’s office. An identical bill (HR 8772) has been introduced in the House, where it has bipartisan support from border congressional members, which could clear the way for quick passage. The passage of this bill is crucial, particularly in a year where we have witnessed the highest number of migrant deaths in remote regions of Arizona. We are grateful for some good news in this troubled month.
_Grateful, but patient. We are also grateful that an incoming administration gives us hope that it may_in a very near future_enact more humanitarian and welcoming initiatives that acknowledge how immigrants_including those seeking protection_ strengthen our nation, but we have to stay grounded in the present and ongoing harms against immigrant and refugee communities. CBP recently released new enforcement statistics that show that the Trump administration’s use of public health statutes as a poor excuse to close the border to refugees (i.e., Title 42 of the Public Health Services Act) has resulted in a high number of cruel expulsions. In short, expulsions have risen to 60,000 people, up from 48,000 in September. Overall, the total number of people expelled under this statute in the Southern border has surpassed 250,000. We hope the incoming administration immediately rolls back the fake use of statutes that result in greater suffering to a large number of people. #DefundHate
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.