Hall of shame-ful stunts

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_SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee and colleague Guerline Jozef of Haitian Bridge Alliance met with Sen. Padilla (D-CA) to urge him to share the real-life impacts of border policies on border communities and asylum seekers and work with fellow members of Congress and the administration to (1) reestablish the U.S. asylum system, (2) stop the militarization of the border, (3) expand access to Friendship Park, and (4) welcome newcomers with dignity.

_SBCC colleague Fernanda Banda of New Mexico Dream Team shares the profound obstacles for many immigrant youth to obtain work authorization and protection from deportation — despite having the fees and meeting the eligibility criteria — because first-time applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are not accepted.

_We were relieved to hear that the El Paso Sector CBP twitter account was (rightfully) deactivated after it was (mis)used to retweet unacceptable, and thoroughly unprofessional, political rhetoric and homophobic slurs

_It turns out the “colonizing” shipping container border wall erected by Arizona Governor Ducey on Cocopah tribal land was built without the tribe’s consent

_We urge you to read how dark money supports extremism in the latest edition of the Border Chronicle (and while you’re at it, please consider subscribing!)

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_Hall of shameful stunts. We’ve been thinking about the need for a hall of shame that showcases elected officials for fear-mongering against immigrants and people seeking safety at our Southern border. Nominees for Most Shameful Political Stunt are Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Frankly, they’re neck-to-neck for a three-way tie for the win. Really. These southerner guv’nors are busing and flying folks — who are lawfully seeking protections at our borderlands — to Washington, DC, (most recently to Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence), Chicago, New York and, now, to Martha’s Vineyard island. All as part of a shameful political stunt to make the point of. . .??? Well, we’re not really sure what their point is. Their inhumane actions have certainly captured headlines (especially after Martha’s Vineyard) and riled up the rhetoric of certain TV pundits, but — in a true reflection of American spirit and values — the receiving communities have turned out to greet the families, provide food and shelter, and help them connect with family members and sponsors in the United States. It’s clear these politicos are striving to take the “order” out of “border.” What a shameful sham! Instead, they succeeded in highlighting the welcoming nature of American communities in the interior, following in the footsteps of hundreds of non-profit groups and groups of faith in the border region that have provided a welcome to those seeking safety for decades. 

We’re disappointed to say that another contender for the Gold Medal of Shameful Acts is President Biden himself, who decided this week to *expand* Title 42, a cruel Trumpian policy that expels without any due process people arriving at our border seeking safety. According to Reuters, Biden has asked the Mexican government to accept Venezuelans, Cubans, and Nicaraguans back to Mexico. This shameful, egregious action will further harm families who are fleeing political persecution and seeking safety.. Biden needs to end this cruel policy completely (like he promised) and prioritize the creation of safe, orderly and humane processes at our border (something the President recently said was needed). Please, all of you, discard these acts of shame before they become cones of doggone shame.

_No justice, no peace. It has been nearly 10 years since sixteen-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was fatally shot by Border Patrol Agent Lonnie Swartz, and still the family has not found justice. Agent Swartz was standing on the U.S. side of Nogales when he fired 16 times through the border fence and killed Jose Antonio who was standing on the Sonora side of Nogales. Six years later, a Tucson jury found Agent Swartz not guilty of murder, despite the fact that it learned that Jose Antonio had been hit by bullets in the back side of his body. His tragic death is not the only one that has been met with injustice. SBCC has tracked almost 240 fatal encounters with CBP officials since 2010. In the nearly 100 years of Border Patrol, not a single agent has been held accountable for fatal use of force while on duty. How can these agents get away with murder? We honestly think it’s because CBP is the largest law enforcement agency in the nation, if not the world, yet it has a staggering absence of oversight, transparency, and accountability. A large contributing factor in the agency’s failure to hold its agents accountable has been the use of Border Patrol Critical Incident Teams (BPCITs), composed of Border Patrol agents and who are first on the scene to gather evidence and take witness testimonies. In other words, agents have been investigating themselves. No wonder agents using excessive and fatal force have gotten off scot free! This is why victim’s families are now seeking justice in international courts (story quotes SBCC steering committee member Andrea Guerrero of Alliance San Diego and our colleague Roxanna Althoz of the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of California-Berkeley). What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.  

_ExpecDACAtions. Any day now, we’re expecting to hear a negative ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that will put in jeopardy the future of the DACA program and the lives of thousands of immigrant youth and their families. It’s urgent and timely for Congress to set aside its partisanship and do something about this. For decades, our nation has been using a broken immigration system that creates suffering for Black, brown and other communities of color living in the United States or families seeking a better life here. The majority of voters want a process that will offer a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million people who live here without work authorization. Most want a humane, orderly and safe process for people seeking safety at our borders. It’s time. We urge Congress to respond to voters and to the needs of our nation, and people seeking to contribute to its success, by immediately passing legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for all. ¡Sí se puede!


border_lines is published every other 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.


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