Just the facts, ma’am

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_SBCC steering committee member Dulce Garcia of Border Angels and colleague Erika Pinheiro of Al Otro Lado mourn the loss of human life in this article about Carolina Ramírez Pérez (¡Presente!), one of the people who tragically died after a disturbing car accident near Holtsville, California_desperate to escape from domestic violence, she needlessly lost her life when forced to cross the border in dangerous conditions. 

_Black Immigrants Matter: We cannot overemphasize the importance of recognizing how U.S. anti-immigrant policies and practices affect Black immigrants most egregiously, as noted by our colleague Guerline Jozef, of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, who advocates against deeply anti-discriminatory policies and practices by the U.S. government against Black immigrants. 

_Our hearts were broken yet again when we learned that a nine-year old child lost their life when their family attempted to seek safety in the United States; we have to be better than this.

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_Just the facts ma’am. It’s been a real eye-rolling couple of weeks to witness the media hop all over the story about a so-called “crisis” at the border. Honestly, from our point of view, it’s a bit like Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot! These news reports, who took the bait from Republican pundits, have prompted many immigration reform advocates to respond with just the *actual* facts, ma’am. Our first example comes from our colleagues at the American Immigration Council, who issued these facts about the current situation at the Southern Border_which show that border encounter numbers have been rising for several months already and how the border is still closed for the majority of people seeking safety. The Washington Office of Latin America also issued this comprehensive analysis of the happenings at the Southern Border. If you really want to know, check it out. Adding to this analysis, is this one by well-known researcher Dr. Tom Wong of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at the University of California at San Diego, who notes that the increase in folks arriving can be attributed to seasonal changes in combination with the backlog created by Trump closing the border under the false pretext of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Finally, our colleagues at the No Border Wall Coalition in Laredo, Texas, held a roundtable/press conference to set the record straight about the false narratives propagated by the media about what is happening at the Southern BorderThis roundtable/press conference included the testimony of local elected officials and SBCC ambassador Jenn Budd, a former Senior Border Patrol Agent who is now an immigrant rights advocate. Thankfully, Texas Representative Henry Cuellar finally admitted that CBP itself played a role in the manipulation of the narrative. Enough already. We get that the media is craving a crisis, especially since they feel a deep need to substitute Trump’s crazy media attention-grabbing stunts, but let’s not play propaganda games when the lives of children and the most vulnerable are at stake. The Fifth Estate can_and should_contribute to the creation of a better world.

_Kids, just kids. The vast majority of the people coming across the U.S.-Mexico border are kidsLet me say that again, kids. Do we really want to respond to children seeking safety by causing them more harm? No, right? Most people with any iota of decency would not slam the door on a child seeking safety. Would you? The good news is that the Department of Health and Human Services has opened, since Feb. 22, eight influx facilities that have the capacity of 15,752 beds and are planning to open more. From there, children should be cared for until they can be safely and expeditiously reunited with family or sponsors. This is a positive turn as we know who should not be holding onto these children for any more than an extremely limited time, like minutes: CBP. Meanwhile some Republican senators have sought to make the problem worse by introducing harsh anti-immigrant bills this week. We don’t get it. What we need is an orderly and humane process_not a process that harms kids and separates families. A big thanks goes out to Senators Alex PadillaBen Ray Lujan, Ron Wyden and Dick Durbin for putting a stop to these bills.

_Border Patrol is the problem. The real problem is how Border Patrol is dealing with children and families that are seeking safety at our southern border. In Arizona, Border Patrol is dropping off families and children in small rural communities (potential paywall)_such as Yuma, Ajo, and Gila Bend_with little advance notice and zero coordination with local community leaders. How does this reflect a whole-of-society, whole-of-government approach? Border Patrol claims they can’t afford to transport these migrants to the shelters in Tucson or Phoenix. Really? The agency could afford to waste $15 billion of taxpayer dollars on a lethal wall, but they can’t afford transportation? Fortunately, the Pima County Board of Supervisors approved a plan to bus migrants from these small towns to shelters in Tucson, Arizona. Even more problematic is that Border Patrol is holding families_including newborn babies and pregnant women (paywall)_in an outdoor facility under the Anzalduas International Bridge in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Our colleague Shaw Drake of the ACLU of Texas filed a FOIA request seeking information about this cage-like “facility.” For decades, we have seen families and children experience abuse and preventable deaths while being held in CBP custody. CBP detention is dangerous; children especially should be transitioned to HHS care as soon as possible. This is why we joined Defund Hate’s call on Vice President Kamala Harris_who was appointed to lead the White House response to immigration issues at the southern border_to divest from CBP. 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.


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