_SBCC is teaming up with the Colibrí Center for Human Rights to mark the International Day of the Disappeared on Friday, August 30th (more at the end of this email) to remember and honor the thousands who have lost their lives or disappeared at our southern border and their loved ones; click here if you’re interested in standing in solidarity by organizing or joining a vigil in your neighborhood!
_The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is visiting the southern border to gather testimony about the effects of Trump’s border policies; they visited SBCC partner Alliance San Diego and heard heart wrenching testimony from both sides of the border before heading to Laredo, Texas to hear some more.
_SBCC ambassador and former Border Patrol agent-turned-immigrant-rights-advocate Jenn Budd wrote this powerful reflection on the back-to-school ICE raids in Mississippi that broke our hearts.
_Killing Flores. They say there’s no rest for the wicked. Case in point: the Trump administration has been burning the midnight oil attempting to push even more policies to attack immigrant families, and kill measures that provide even the most basic forms of protection. This week, the White House unveiled a new regulation that will permit authorities to hold migrant families in indefinite imprisonment in unlicensed facilities, a move that pediatricians and mental health experts warn will “dangerously increase the risk of severe health harms for already traumatized children and families.” This regulation is the Administration’s effort to terminate the Flores settlement which limits the detention of immigrant children to 20 days, requires state licensure and independent monitoring of conditions. This new, cruel regulation comes on the heels of the atrocious expansions to the “public charge” rule, which attacks legal immigrants, and is coupled with the news that the U.S. will no longer provide flu vaccinations to migrant families and children in the camps_this despite the fact that several children have died of influenza or flu-related issues in the camps. There is hope, however: several organizations are planning to sue, and according to this article from the Center for American Progress, there is plenty of justification for it.
_From border to border: It’s not enough that families fleeing life-threatening situations in Central America have to endure the dangerous journey through Mexico to claim asylum in the United States, only to be sent back to Mexico to wait for their hearings_ a super cruel and inhumane policy known as Return to Mexico. Now these families are being bused from cities in northern Mexico to states like Chiapas that border Central America, far, far away from their hearing locations and the legal help they need to be successful with their asylum cases. Mexico says it’s doing this for their own protection (yeah right). One thing is clear: the Mexican government is doing Trump’s dirty work to help dismantle it’s asylum system while circumventing the international asylum laws that have existed for decades. Talk about setting families up for failure.
_Rotten to the core: To better understand just how deeply the culture of corruption, abuse and impunity permeates the Border Patrol, look no further than the case of former border patrol agent Matthew Bowen. You might recall he was the agent who used his 4,000-pound truck to strike a Guatemalan migrant who posed no threat in a parking lot in southern Arizona, almost killing him. Well, Agent Bowen recently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor civil rights charge and agreed to leave the patrol_also known as a slap on the hand. Turns out this agent had a hatefully undecorated history of calling migrants all kinds of names that we won’t repeat in this family-friendly news digest, and had been repeatedly investigated for excessive use of force. This case exemplifies everything that’s wrong with the patrol, and the agency’s inability or unwillingness to identify and discipline problem agents.
_Honoring the disappeared. The southern border region is a place of hope, encounter, and opportunity, but decades of enforcement-only policies like Operation Gatekeeper, which will see its 25th anniversary this October, have pushed desperate people seeking safety deeper into remote regions or harsh terrain of the border region where thousands have become injured, disappeared or lost their lives. This week, Robin Reineke of the Colibrí Center was on Democracy Now to discuss how border militarization has lead to a massive loss of life at our southern border. On August 30th, the International Day of the Disappeared, the Southern Border Communities Coalition and Colibrí Center for Human Rights have partnered to remember all of the lives lost on the southern border due to decades of harmful militarization and enforcement-only policies. In communities across the borderlands and beyond, we are organizing a national day of action and vigils to demand justice for disappeared migrants and their families. But we can't do this alone. Help us honor those lost by hosting a vigil in your community, and stand in solidarity with the families of those who have been lost to the militarization of the southern border. Together we can honor those lost, and work to #RevitalizeNotMilitarize the southern border.
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 Vicki@alliancesd.org, by Wednesday COB.