Note: Vicki Gaubeca is away this week so this edition features a variety of guest contributors. Vicki will return for the next edition in two weeks.
_After a SCOTUS ruling and organizing efforts, Biden ends the Remain in Mexico program, now it’s time to end Title 42. It’s about time we resume welcoming asylum seekers arriving at our borders.
_The Border Chronicle recently interviewed our fearless leader, SBCC Director Vicki Gaubeca, about the importance of finding a new border vision and a narrative to hold and sustain it. Check out the Q&A.
_How unprofessional and irresponsible of you, OPR. On August 11th 2022, the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) sent a letter to Congress to share new and alarming facts that could directly impact their investigation of unlawful Border Patrol’s Critical Incident Teams (BPCITs), that have operated as cover-up teams for more than three decades. One of the biggest revelations was learning that the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is now hiring the very same people that Congress is investigating, BPCITs. SBCC is gravely concerned that at no time, even now, has CBP ever been transparent about the activities of BPCITs. We are also concerned that the network of current and former BPCITs have permeated CBP and other parts of government. Although CBP has since announced it will eliminate BPCITs, this is not enough. In view of all of the above, we believe the threat that BPCITs pose is ongoing, pervasive, and may be increasing. Now, more than ever, we must continue to demand for accountability and transparency.
On a related note, the family of Anastasio Hernández Rojas has taken a next step in their case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to request a hearing. Anastasio was killed by border agents in 2010, and after Anastasio’s death was covered-up by those agents, the family ran out of options within the U.S. judicial system to seek justice and is now bringing their case before the IACHR. The evidence of BPCITs effort to obstruct justice, hinder investigations and cover-up instances of abuse and death at their hands, as well as these new and alarming facts that implicate CBP more broadly, will be included as part of Anastasio’s case before the IACHR.
_DHS is rotten to the CoreCivic. Our colleagues at the ACLU of New Mexico publicized two disturbing stories. The first is about the death of a young boy who was apprehended by border patrol on July 22nd 2022 and who later died. The second is about the deplorable conditions inside the Torrance County Detention Facility, a facility that ICE has contracted the notoriously bad private prison company CoreCivic to run. Both of these stories highlight the preventable loss of life and how we need to reevaluate CBP’s and ICE’s role and capacity to care for people, because they’ve shown time and time again that they cannot be trusted with human lives.
_What standards? Earlier this month, the Office of Inspector General issued a stunning report after its review of the conditions of confinement at CBP holding units at ports of entry in the El Paso sector and at Border Patrol stations in New Mexico and West Texas_the findings include the agency engaging in prolonged detention, lack of interpretation services for individuals detained at the facility and inconsistencies in how juveniles are separated with some being in close contact with non-related adults_neither of these examples meet CBP national Transport, Escort, Detention and Search (TEDS) standards. Once again, a lack of documentation and adherence to existing procedures and processes shows why accountability and transparency in how these facilities operate must remain a top priority for CBP.
_Containers that shouldn’t contain us. Arizona Governor Ducey’s plan to use shipping containers to seal gaps in the border wall near Yuma seems like a cuckoo way to spend $6 million in taxpayer money at a time when that money can be used for critical services in our border communities_I mean, shipping containers, really?_that plan seems as empty and worn out as the shipping containers that are being used along the wall! Let’s get real - it’s time for a more humane approach to ensuring that public health and safety are our major priorities, especially when it comes to protecting the lives of migrant families and individuals. Another recent story about the exponential increase in migrant injuries and deaths near San Diego underscores that we must do better to stop the needless and tragic loss of life along our southern borders.
border_lines is published every other 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.