Holding our Breath

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_SBCC steering committee member Ricky Garza of Texas Civil Rights Project and SBCC allies Scott Nicol and Melissa Cigarroa describe the trauma and devastation to their communities, the environment and wildlife caused by Trump’s vanity wall.  

_SBCC co-chair Lilian Serrano of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium hopes that a  newly elected San Diego Board of Supervisors will halt collaborations between local police and immigration officials and make sure that immigrant and refugee community members' needs are taken into account.

_SBCC steering committee member Dan Millis of the Sierra Club and our colleagues Laiken Jordhal of the Center for Biological Diversity, Myles Traphagen of the Wildlands Network, and Norma Herrera of the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network bear witness to the scarring of the borderlands by Trump’s deadly wall. 

_Kudos to our colleague Laiken Jordhal for writing this poignant and profound OpEd in the New York Times about the devastation of Trump’s border wall in Arizona.

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_Holding our breath. During this unprecedented pandemic election, we are holding our breath along with the vast majority of voters and keenly following the tallying of votes that will determine who the next president will be for the United States. But, to be clear, regardless of who ends up in the Oval Office, border communities know they have their work cut out for them. Our communities may be in our nation’s border region, but we will not let our concerns and priorities remain at the margins when policies impacting our homes and families are on the line. No question, we will still have to continue to defend our communities against the erosion of our rights and continued militarization; we will still have to advocate for accountability and oversight of border enforcement officials; and we will still have to push for a welcoming system for borderlanders, people seeking protections at our borders, and visitors. And we will demand the halt of Trump’s deadly border wall (aka as a monument to racism) and that it be taken down in an environmentally conscious way. In short, we will continue to have to ask elected officials to re-think border management and to implement a better border governance model that expands public/community safety, protects human rights and life, and creates a welcoming system for all. We believe we can do this together. We need a #NewBorderVision.

_As transparent as mud. No surprise that Border Patrol’s processes for addressing abuse in its ranks is as transparent as mud, which prompted a possible subpoena by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform for the agency’s refusal to provide documents detailing how agents were disciplined for posting offensive and racist comments on a secret Facebook page. But, strangely curious and surprising, the agency doesn’t seem to want to be transparent even when the documents requested are intended to shed light on the death of one of their agents_possibly of exposure_and about information on how many other agents have been in distress, suggesting a desire by CBP to ignore the harms they put their agents in and a refusal to consider ways to prevent risks and death of their own agents. Talk about dragging their agents through the mud. #DefundHate

_Secret police not allowed. So, the Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officially blasted the Trump administration for unlawfully deploying thousands of federal agents to clamp down on protesters. We’re not surprised. The report says DHS failed to identify the names of officers who would be deployed under a law designed to protect federal property and the people inside it (40 United States Code USC § 1315). It also says that Kevin McAleenan, who ordered the deployment, had been installed “not lawfully” as the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security at the time. The Trump administration deployed thousands of federal agents across the country this past summer, suppressing freedom of speech to people speaking out against  racism and police brutality. Border agents picked up protesters in unmarked vehicles in Portland, Oregon, further escalating tensions that led to the shooting of at least one protester. Federal officers deployed to protests included officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency that oversees the Border Patrol. Much has been written about Border Patrol’s ambitions to become a national police force, and the dangers of having border agents rounding up U.S. citizens across the country. With the election results inching towards the end line (but we’re patient--count all the votes!), we urge Trump not to invoke — as he has threatened to do — DHS agents to quell post-election protests or even to unlawfully maintain his grip in office. This would not only be unlawful — as this alert from the DHS Inspector General makes clear — it would also be harmful to our democracy and a dangerous step towards authoritarianism. #HonorDemocracy


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.


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