_SBCC Co-Chair Christina Patiño Houle and ally John-Michael Torres of LUPE wrote this op-ed to recognize the Day of the Disappeared (it’s a must read, see below), which is Today, August 30th.
_ Border crossing wait times are at an all-time high thanks to Trump’s misguided border policies that have left port of entries understaffed, making students and workers wait hours to cross.
_SBCC Co-Chair Christina Patiño Houle hosted a plática at the Encuentro en la Frontera festival, a three-day event seeking to uplift the RGV through art, education, and activism.
_ Lilian Serrano, SBCC steering committee member, discusses the fear in immigrant communities due to the ‘Public Charge’ expansion, set to be implemented October 15th.
_Honoring those lost. Today, Friday, August 30, on the International Day of the Disappeared, the Southern Border Communities Coalition and Colibrí Center for Human Rights have partnered to honor the lives lost on the southern border due to decades of harmful militarization and enforcement-only policies. We have organized a national day of action with vigils around the country to demand justice for disappeared migrants and their families. Visit our Day of the Disappeared page to read the stories of people who have had loved ones disappear on the border, and learn about Operation Gatekeeper, which will see its 25th anniversary this October. We hope you’ll lend your light to honor those lives lost to our deadly border policies, and help spark a fire under lawmakers to move them towards a #NewBorderVision that upholds public safety, protects human rights, and welcomes all people who come to our borders. You can’t start a fire without a spark.
_Off the wall. The Trump Administration continues its attack on border communities with these seriously off-the-wall cash grabs. This week, Trump transferred $271 million dollars_including $158 million from FEMA, to expand his migrant concentration camps and and the dangerous “Remain in Mexico” program. Defund Hate Coalition members (which includes us, of course) pushed back on the transfer and called on members of Congress to pass a 2020 fiscal spending bill that stops the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from ignoring Congress and manipulating the appropriations process to expand their deadly deportation force and squalid concentration camps. Any other Despot-in-Chief may have called it a day, but Il Trumpe has a flair for the crazy. In late June, Trump proposed some more border wall construction_95 miles to be exact_in south Texas, which even CBP says will cut through border communities and public lands. Public comment for this project ended this week, and in response, dozens of human rights, conservation and faith groups (including SBCC) issued a statement slamming Trump for the proposal, in which he already awarded construction contracts to companies AND relied once-again on his legally-questionable use of waivers, despite (or in spite of) the fact that Congress has denied Trump’s request for full funding multiple times. Trump’s obsession with border militarization and building his wall has him actively encouraging officials to break the LAW to get his deadly, wasteful wall built, saying “don’t worry, I’ll pardon you.” What else can we expect of a President who quotes fascist dictators and uses white nationalist symbols in his campaign ads?
_ A taste of justice. This week also brought some victories, with the resignation of former Border Agent Jason Andrew McGilvray (Yours Truly is quoted here) as he pled guilty to charges that stemmed from assaulting an undocumented person in U.S. custody. McGilvray was stationed in Calexico when he apprehended the unnamed-migrant person, and reportedly struck him in the face. McGilvray’s plea comes after another Border Agent, Matthew Bowen, pled guilty to the same charge, after striking a migrant with his truck in 2017. SBCC has tracked over 90 border agent-related deaths since 2010, including that of Anastacio Hernandez Rojas, who was brutally beaten, shot with a Taser and killed by border agents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in 2010, a case that is now before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Despite the overwhelming evidence, including two videos, eye-witnesses and expert testimony, the Department of Justice decided not to prosecute the case, a prime indicator of just how rare it is to see the DOJ prosecute agents that abuse people. Don’t just take our word for it: SBCC ambassador and former-border patrol agent Jenn Budd talks about the culture of racism and abuse cultivated and encouraged in border agents in this article. We call to end the culture of impunity at Customs and Border Protection and for justice for our border communities. When we say “for liberty and justice for all,” we mean ALL.
_Keep the fire going! We want the fires of justice for border communities to grow, and that means we need your help to keep them hot. Reach out to your elected officials far and wide and get them to sign on to A New Border Vison, a model that will facilitate fiscal responsibility, make our communities feel safe, and provide a welcoming system for residents and newcomers.
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.