NOTE: Due to the 4th of July holiday, we will not be publishing an edition of border_lines next Friday, July 9th.
_We urge you to read these moving, heartfelt New York Times portraits of migrants stuck in northern Mexican border communities; readers will learn the effects of U.S. imigration and border policies on the lives of people who are seeking safety from violence, natural disasters, and poverty.
_Former Border Patrol agent and SBCC ambassador Jenn Budd is featured in this article (in Spanish) that describes her transformative journey from Border Patrol agent to immigrant, border and human rights activist.
_Watch this video_on Facebook and Twitter (produced by We Are Home)_that explains why the Biden administration needs to shift away from enforcement to prioritizing the safety and freedom of immigrant communities.
_Podcast listeners who want to understand the root causes of migration, should tune in to Witness Radio’s Aviva Chomsky on the Real Root Causes of Migration, where she discusses her new book, Central America's Forgotten History: Revolution, Violence, and the Roots of Migration.
_Please consider tuning in to Build Bridges, Not Walls: A Journey to a World Without Borders, Thursday, July 15, 2021, 7:30 to 9 p.m. Eastern, to hear author Todd Miller discuss the possibility of creating a borderless world, one that is better equipped to solve global emergencies.
_House dough. This week, the House of Representatives dropped a draft Fiscal Year 2022 spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security that offered a mixed recipe of good sprinkled with stubborn evil. The good news is that the draft bill does not include any funding for more Border Patrol agents or new border wall construction. It also rescinds more than $2 billion in unspent congressionally appropriated funds for border wall construction in fiscal years 2018 through 2021 and invests $100 million from the rescinded funds into mitigation activities related to border wall construction. It also includes $655 million for the modernization of ports of entry_a much needed infrastructure improvement that we hope will reduce border crossing wait times at our ports of entry. And it defunds family immigration detention_children should never be held in cages. These are positive ingredients! The bad news is that the initiative provides $132 million for technologies at the border, without providing specific information about the kind of technologies or whether any guardrails will be put in place to protect the privacy rights of border communities. Yuck. One of the worst line items in the draft bill is the provision of $2.46 billion to jail 28,500 people per day in ICE custody. This represents a decrease from the FY21 funded level of 34,000, however, it is a higher number than the currently detained population. Congress should eliminate this line item and recognize that immigration detention only invites abuse against immigrants in custody and a punitive immigration system that strips people of their dignity and separates them from loved ones. Dignity, not cages. For a top-level summary of the bill_prepared by Defund Hate_see here. To view Defund Hate’s release issued in response, go here. Rumor has it, the bill will go up for markup in the full House committee on Tuesday, July 13. We urge congressional appropriators to create a better recipe that invests in the vibrancy of our communities. #RevitalizeNotMilitarize
_Dinero power. Immigrants not only strengthen our nation, but also strengthen our economy. A March analysis by the Congressional Budget Office showed that H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, if passed, would contribute $42.5 billion over 10 years to the wealth of our nation. This is a good reason why an immigration reform package in a reconciliation budget would provide economic benefits to all who live in the United States. It also falls in line with what U.S. voters want. A majority of U.S. voters support a reasonable pathway to citizenship for the 11 million people living in the United States without work authorization. Sí se puede y sí se debe.
_Political tourism. Once again, border communities witnessed misguided elected officials touring the U.S.-Mexico border and using our communities as a backdrop to score political points. Former President Trump visited the U.S.-Mexico border to laud Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to build a state-funded vanity border wall. The Abbott and Trump team seem keen on scaring up the base against our communities_by declaring false emergencies_to rally votes and to justify the colossal waste of taxpayer dollars on a lethal and ineffective wall. But, frankly, it’s all a big lie. Even county judges refused to play along, which forced Abbott to revise his fake national emergency. Our vibrant communities are places of encounter and hope and we represent among the safest communities in the nation. A big shout out goes to our colleagues in the Rio Grande Valley who stood strong against the false rhetoric, including La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), the Brown Berets de Cemanahuac, ARISE Adelante, Angry Tias and Abuelas, the Laredo Immigrant Alliance, the Texas American Federal of Teachers and the Texas Freedom Network. In sharp contrast, Vice President Kamala Harris visited the border with a different message, one that focused on “root causes” and developing a “thoughtful and effective” approach to receiving families and children at our border. While there is room for improvement in how the Biden Administration has handled border and immigration issues, we’re at least encouraged that their message is about hope versus the former Administration’s message based on fear. Border communities want a new approach that focuses on creating community safety for all, the protection of human rights and life, and the implementation of a welcoming system for both border communities and visitors. We need a #NewBorderVision.
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.