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_Join us today, Jan. 29, at 2pm PT/5pm ET for a Facebook live conversation of the SBCC Comadres who will talk about President Biden’s immigration plan and his executive action on border wall construction.
_Register here to join a webinar on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 10 am Pacific, presented by our colleagues at No More Deaths and La Coalición de Derechos Humanos who will talk about their new report, “Left to Die: Border Patrol, Search and Rescue, and the Crisis of Disappearance (this report is the third installment of Disappeared).”
_Listen to this intense_but inspiring_Apple podcast (starting at minute 17:40) of SBCC ambassador and former Border Patrol Agent Jenn Budd who describes how she became an agent, her personal experiences as an agent, and why she decided to leave Border Patrol and speak out against the agency’s corruption and abuse.
_SBCC steering committee member Johana Bencomo explains how the Center for Disease Control Title 42 expulsions carried out under the Trump administration_which used public health as an excuse for rapid expulsions of people seeking safety at our borders_are, in fact, not based on any evidence or science (further proof is this recently released letter by public health experts).
_Per this insightful report issued by our colleagues at the American Immigration Council, immigrants are overwhelmingly likely to show up to their immigration court hearings (83%)_and even more likely to present when they have legal counsel (96%).
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_Hit a Wall. Border wall construction may have finally hit a wall this last Wednesday (Jan. 27) and come to a full pause. Even eminent domain cases in the Lower Rio Grande Valley seem to have been put on hold according to South Texas Representative Henry Cuellar (story also quotes our colleague Melissa Cigarroa of the No Border Wall Coalition of Laredo). So, now what? Well, according to Biden’s executive action, government officials at the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon are required to develop a plan within 60 days (i.e., by March 21) to redirect border wall funds, including terminating or repurposing contracts with private contractors. Authorities will then need to implement this plan, including steps to resume, modify or terminate wall construction projects. We urge these officials to consult with border communities_including indigenous advocates and tribal leaders_while formulating their assessment and plan. Furthermore, the Administration needs to act immediately to prevent further environmental devastation and remove the most harmful segments, as urged by our colleague Laiken Jordahl of the Center for Biological Diversity. We also urge officials to not minimize the harmful impacts of so-called “replacement” wall projects which have resulted in even deeper devastation to the environment and cultural sites as noted by SBCC steering committee member Pedro Rios of American Friends Service Committee. This article describes well the harms of Trump’s vanity wall and summarizes our demands. #TearTheWallDown
_Policy flurry. In less than 10 days since taking the oath of office, President Biden has signed a flurry of executive actions_most of which focus on reversing a four-year snowball of Trump’s cruel and deeply misguided policies on immigrants, climate change, and access to health care. And while expectations are high and hopeful, change can’t come soon enough. As the Biden administration recently rescinded Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in thousands of children being ripped from the arms of their parents, separated families anxiously wait to understand next steps. Similarly, patience is running thin among families who have been stuck in limbo in northern Mexican communities as part of Trump’s cruel Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP, aka, Remain in Mexico program). While the Biden administration has halted new enrollments in MPP, people who have been enrolled in the program have endured excruciating, long waits for their hearings in the United States and discouragement is kicking in. The postponement until next week of Biden’s new reversals of Trump’s other harmful immigration policies also felt a bit disappointing. But as Biden continues to raise hope, we can’t lose sight of the fact that these changes won’t happen overnight. These flurries will stick.
_Roadmap to Freedom. We were pleased to see Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Judy Chu (CA-27), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), FIRM Action leaders Roxana Norouzi (OneAmerica) and Lawrence Benito (ICIRR) describe the Roadmap to Freedom Resolution, which they hope becomes “the north star for executive and legislative action on immigration.” Among its provisions, this common-sense resolution lays out a fair immigration process that establishes a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million people that is centered in family unity and diversity; creates a just, people-centered system to uphold immigration laws, including investments in humane, community-based alternatives to detention; invests in border policy that protects the rights of communities in the borderlands and ends the mass militarization of the region; and recognizes that we must uphold the rights of all workers to lift up all workers—immigrant and American-born alike. We can get behind that! We need a #NewBorderVision that establishes a new border governance model that expands public safety, protects human rights, and welcomes all people who live, work or travel to the region. Punto. Period. Full Stop.
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.