_SBCC steering committee member Joanna Williams of Kino Border Initiative_and recent graduate of Arizona State University’s public policy program_talks about how she hopes she can make a difference in new immigration policies that promote the rights and dignity of migrants.
_SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee calls out these engineers for totally ignoring the voices of border communities; please note: a wall, even with some green energy, is still A WALL.
_It’s wrong for these border agents to claim the Constitution doesn’t apply at the border; they should stop intimidating people who are only trying to make sure asylum seekers receive fair and due process to present their claims.
_Has no mother. In Mexico (which, btw, celebrates Mother’s Day on May 10 no matter what day of the week it is) saying that someone “has no mother,” roughly translates to the person “has no heart” or_depending on the context_“has no shame.” Nothing could be truer when it comes to Trump’s attitudes towards immigrants, whether they’re asylum seekers, Dreamers, or anyone who comes to this country to make a better life_as migrants have done worldwide since the beginning of time. Case in point is his shameful laughter in response to a supporter who said asylum seekers should be shot at the border. Honestly, his response should have been to say that violence is completely unacceptable.
_Mother lode. The House Appropriations Committee approved spending levels for the Fiscal Year 2020 funding bills, totalling $1.3 trillion_a jump of $51 billion above current levels. The Committee usually gives across the board increases to most bills. But for a tiny bit of good news_the increase approved by the committee for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill was less than one percent (only 0.7%) over last year's level. This reflects a percentage amount that is smaller than the increase DHS got in the Fiscal Year 2019 spending bill and it is the smallest increase across all the agency spending caps. We’re not doing cartwheels, but this is definitely a good step forward. (Thank you House Appropriators for listening and to all our colleagues who worked hard to meet with congressional members and staffers to tell them that DHS didn’t need any more funding to shore up Trump’s deportation force). We still don’t know how appropriators will divvy up this pot of $$$ for DHS, but we will continue to push back against more boots, beds, and wall. Of concern is that the Defense budget got a $15.5 billion boost, bringing its proposed funding to $622 billion. How much of that increase will Trump steal to beef up his anti-immigrant policies and wall? Let’s hope a bill that would ban the transfer of military money to build a border wall is successful. House members aim to have a floor vote on the spending caps sometime in mid-June.
_Impeach the mother...just joking, that would be a huge, unnecessary distraction. What we do need, however, are effective solutions (thanks America’s Voice!) at the border to provide model humanitarian responses to a challenge that has only been made more challenging by Trump’s failed policies. Seriously, every policy Trump comes up with: more miles of wall; turnbacks and forced returns to wait in Mexico, bottlenecks at ports of entry that funnel families and children to cross in more dangerous places; a supplemental budget request framed maliciously and falsely as a humanitarian response; a pilot program that would horrifically allow border agents to process asylum claims (here’s what our colleagues at the ACLU think about that) and even more ridiculous policies_have only led to higher numbers. Well, how’s that working? Maybe that’s what Trump wants. As Administration officials get in sync and amp up the fear-mongering and alarming rhetoric, it becomes even clearer that the motives are to get more money for Trump’s vanity wall, more facilities to jail children and families longer, and more unaccountable, armed border agents. Oh, and_while we’re at it_Trump wants to change the laws that protect children and keep families with children out of jail. None of these chaotic, crisis-inducing and downright obscene ideas will improve the situation. Would you kiss your mother with that mouth?
_Save mother earth. It didn’t surprise us that, as Trump seeks to weaken environmental and wildlife protections, scientists are now predicting that we will be facing mass extinctions of species in 10 years. For some time now, border communities, including ranchers, have been arguing that border walls kill endangered and protected wildlife. So, it was with great dismay that we received the news that the Administration is poised to build 256 miles of border wall as soon as possible. This goes way beyond the number of miles that Congress had approved, so Trump had to raid other coffers to get the wall money he wanted. All of this is happening even though Congress is constitutionally required to be a check and balance_particularly in the face of a tyrannical executive branch_AND a majority of voters oppose more border wall. Kid tested, but not mother approved.
_Mother’s Day request. This special day, which is celebrated on May 10 or 12 for a large part of the world, is meant to be a time to show our mothers how much we care about them or how fondly we remember and miss them. We would like to also think about the courageous mothers who have fought for their children and families for as long as humans have inhabited the Earth, including grandmothers, aunts, mothers, adoptive mothers, trans women, or young women taking care of the needs of children around the world to make sure they’re fed, clothed, and have a decent chance for dignified living as adults. Recently, we have been blessed to meet many women who fit this description as Border Patrol and ICE release them in border communities so we can help them on their way to their sponsors to await their court hearings. Why not make a donation to any of these border humanitarian groups to celebrate the courage of these many mothers? Also, don’t stay mum. Call your congressional member and tell them they need to support humanitarian and effective solutions at our border. Necessity, after all, is the mother of invention. #RevitalizeNotMilitarize
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.